Columbia Star

Mayor and Columbia City Council pass proclamation to “Solarize Columbia”

Mary Pat Baldauf, City of Columbia Sustainability Facilitator; Mayor Steve Benjamin; and Sara Hummel Rajca, SolarizeSC/Smart Power.

Mary Pat Baldauf, City of Columbia Sustainability Facilitator; Mayor Steve Benjamin; and Sara Hummel Rajca, SolarizeSC/Smart Power.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and City Council issued a proclamation at the September 5, 2017 council meeting launching “Solarize Columbia” and urging all Columbia residents to learn if solar energy will work for their home.

The proclamation reiterates the partnership between the City of Columbia, and the nonprofit SmartPower as they launch another round of the successful program “Solarize South Carolina.” Columbia was the first municipality in the Midlands to officially participate two years ago in the statewide, residential solar power initiative.

Solarize South Carolina is a community outreach program designed to help Columbia residents go solar and save on electricity costs. When 50 or more Columbia residents sign a contract for solar before January 23, 2018, the city will earn a free 5 kW solar system for any of its municipal buildings.

“SmartPower has been a great partner over the past two years,” said Columbia Mayor Stephen Benjamin. “By re-launching our solarize program with SmartPower, we are helping our residents become informed citizens about solar energy and make the best decision for themselves and their homes while working to fulfill our goals of 100 percent renewable by 2036 through Ready for 100.”

Solarize Columbia will help local residents go solar, accelerate the adoption of solar and increase public awareness of solar- friendly state rules that allow net metering, giving significant financial advantage to residents who go solar.

Homeowners in South Carolina can still take advantage of some incentives that exist. There is a 30 percent Federal Tax Credit, a 25 percent state tax credit, and some utilities offer net energy metering. The net energy metering program from SCE&G credits the solar customer at the same rate the utility charges for service. The excess energy that is not used by the home is then pushed back into the energy grid at the same rate.

“Columbia residents have seen friends or family go solar and wonder if it will work for their home,” said

Sara Hummel Rajca, SmartPower’s Community Outreach Manager for Solarize South Carolina said, “ We’re excited to work with the City of Columbia and all Columbia residents to help people decide if solar energy works for them.”

Solarize Columbia kicks off with its first event Thursday, September 28, at 6:30 p.m., at the Earlewood Community Building, 1113 Parkside Drive.

For more information about Solarize South Carolina and Solarize Columbia, contact Sara Hummel Rajca at

Residents who want to see if their home is good for solar can get started at

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