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California firm to build two solar power operations near Swansea

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One of Cypress Creek Renewables’ solar projects is near Elm City, N.C. The 50-acre Upchurch Solar Center can produce about 5 megawatts of AC power daily. (Photo/Provided)One of Cypress Creek Renewables’ solar projects is near Elm City, N.C. The 50-acre Upchurch Solar Center can produce about 5 megawatts of AC power daily. (Photo/Provided)

Staff Report
Published Aug. 27, 2015

A California company that specializes in the ownership and development of long-term solar energy projects plans to establish two new operations in Lexington County. The company, Cypress Creek Renewables, said its investment will total $20.4 million.

The projects will be built off Southbound Road and George Derrick Road in the Swansea area, the company said.

“The energy we will create in Lexington County is a model of how things go when things go well,” said Matthew McGovern, CEO of Cypress Creek. “The energy is locally created, using underutilized land and delivering local residents secure, long-term clean energy dependent only on the sun.”

solar panels
Both solar projects will produce 10 megawatts of energy once at full capacity. That will be enough solar energy to power approximately 4,000 homes.

The company is working in partnership with Charleston-based Sustainable Energy Solutions, which is assisting Cypress by identifying sites, obtaining necessary permits and coordinating with the utilities.

“We’re very appreciative of the support we’ve received from Lexington County’s economic development team, South Carolina Electric & Gas and all of our partners that have helped in the development of these projects,” said Paul Fleury, owner and director of business development at Sustainable Energy Solutions. “The opportunity to provide meaningful construction jobs and a long-term revenue stream to the county is extremely satisfying.”

Cypress Creek Renewables, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., focuses primarily on 2-MW to 10-MW utility-scale projects.

The company is working with regulators, utilities and business development groups across the country to build more than 1 gigawatt of new solar projects between now and the end of 2016.

Cypress’s development pipeline currently totals more than 200 projects. The company manages every aspect of development from site acquisition to final engineering and safety inspections.

“New energy technologies continue to emerge and the central South Carolina region is at the forefront of this movement,” said Mike Brenan, chairman of the Central SC Alliance. “Cypress Creek Renewables partners with local utilities to develop long-term sustainable energy. They have a proven track record across the United States and we welcome them to Lexington County.”

The Lexington County solar projects are the product of legislation known as the “S.C. Distributed Energy Resource Program Act,” which Gov. Nikki Haley signed in 2014. The law aims to help develop renewable energy in South Carolina.

The law also includes a provision allowing SCE&G to request authorization from the Public Service Commission of South Carolina to add both utility-scale and customer-scale solar energy to its system.

Earlier this summer, state regulators approved SCE&G’s request to implement a portfolio of Distributed Energy Resource programs, which are designed to encourage customers to install solar renewable energy facilities at their home or business.

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