Solar energy rally draws concerned workers to State House
COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) --- Greg Gebhardt is a veteran and supports solar energy. For the last year, he's worked for Cypress Creek Renewables installing utility scale solar farms in rural areas. "I am very proud of my service and equally proud to be a worker in the solar industry," Gebhardt said. "Being a part of the renewable energy movement is being a part of something bigger than yourself."
On Tuesday, he was one of the hundreds rallying at the State house to expand solar energy in South Carolina. "We've seen the highest electricity bills in the nation,” Senator Tom Davis said. “We've seen $9.4 billion worth of assets on the ground in Fairfield County.”
Some are pushing the potential of solar power after that failed nuclear job in Fairfield County. Right now, 2 percent of the state's homes and businesses are powered by solar.
Bret Sowers is the vice president for the solar energy company, Southern Current. "If we hit a 2 percent cap without a meaningful solution for net metering for solar in the future those jobs go away pretty quickly," Sowers said.
He said, roughly 3,000 solar industry workers will lose their jobs if state lawmakers don't pass a measure that would expand solar power in South Carolina. "The environment here in South Carolina is just right for huge potential job growth,” Gebhardt said. “There are just a ton of jobs down the supply chain that would just explode if bills like this were to pass.”
WACH FOX News tried speaking with several people who oppose the measure, none of them wanted to comment.
The proposal eliminating the two percent cap on solar is scheduled for debate on Wednesday.