Introduced by a bipartisan group of House members in 2019, led by Rep. Peter McCoy, the Energy Freedom Act (H.3659) lifted the cap on solar energy development in South Carolina and opened up the clean energy marketplace. The Act addressed large-scale, commercial, and residential solar and renewable energy needs, as well as consumer protections. It established a policy of the State of South Carolina to promote solar energy and to ensure solar is accessible to all – regardless of income and home ownership. In addition, the Act deferred a number of long-term solar policy issues to the Public Service Commission.
With a lot of negotiating and time spent crafting the bill in the House Labor, Commerce, and Industry (LCI) Committee, the bill unanimously passed the House 110-0 and was sent to the Senate in early April of 2019.
Senator Tom Davis had introduced the Senate companion bill (S.332) early in the 2019 session. Conversations surrounding S.332 had laid the foundation for quick consideration of the House version of the Energy Freedom Act by the Senate Judiciary Committee. After further negotiations and debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate passed H.3659 with a unanimous vote 46-0, and the House concurred with changes.
The bill was signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster in May of 2019.
- This is a Pro-Conservation Bill.