A controversial incentives bill that seeks to expand the solar power industry in South Carolina appears poised to advance through the State Senate this year.

Sources tell us this legislation – H. 3659 – will move forward after state senator Wes Climer of Rock Hill lifted his objection to the measure earlier this week.

Individual state senators can block up to four pieces of legislation at a time by “putting their names on it,” i.e. attaching a hold to the bill. In order to overcome such a “hold,” two-thirds of the Senate must agree to set the bill in question for “special order” – which means assigning it a coveted position atop the legislative calendar typically reserved for high-profile pieces of legislation.

Beyond the obvious difficulty associated with getting two-thirds of the Senate to agree on anything, senators are also reluctant to clog up their calendar – which can only accommodate three special order bills at any given time.

Actually, the process is even more convoluted than that … but the bottom line is it takes a herculean effort to overcome an individual senator’s hold.

Not surprisingly, Climer didn’t remove his block on the bill without earning concessions from solar providers – who are looking to nail down long-term, government-mandated price credits related to the energy generated by large-scale solar farms.

Earlier this year, a controversial deal was struck regarding similar government-mandated price credits for solar power generated from residential sources (i.e. rooftop solar).

This was the second part of the “grand bargain.”



Click back soon for details on the compromise …




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