One of the largest manufacturers in Dorchester County is aiming to go green. Scout Boats, a family-owned boat manufacturer and brand known for designing award-winning center console coastal fishing boats and yachts, has partnered with Hannah Solar Government Services to create a new solar energy system for their fourth manufacturing building.
The solar electricity system will generate clean, renewable energy to power not only the site’s newest facility but also an additional 65 homes. Company officials joined county leaders in celebrating Scout Boats newest mission during a “Flip the Switch” ceremony on Friday.
Steve Potts, CEO and president of Scout Boats, told the crowd it’s vital for the company to embrace solar energy rather than continuing to rely on fossil fuels.
“The return on investment is respectable,” he said. “So from an investment perspective, it’s kind of a no-brainer; but in addition to that, I think that society today embraces energy efficiency.”
Scout Boats already designs a number of boats with built-in solar panels on their hard top, part of the reason Potts praised his company for having a “forward-thinking and creative” mindset.
“We were one of the first brands to go digital,” he said. “We do what does not exist (yet) in our industry, and we have a lot of followers thereafter.”
The solar panels installed on the company’s fourth building will produce 92 percent of the energy needed to run that structure. Now, the company is working to get approval for a second solar panel system designed by Hannah Solar Government Services (HSGS), a solar contractor based in South Carolina.
This second system will consist of four parking canopies, totaling a 605 KW solar PV system. The panels will generate power for the three remaining manufacturing buildings on the property and provide covered parking to boot. Construction of the canopies is slated to start this fall.
Potts explained that many industries focus on their 90-day report or only consider what’s best for the “here and now”; but that is not how he wants to run Scout Boats. He said he wants the company to be more visionary.
“As one of the largest employers in the Tri-county area, we felt it is important, and our manufacturing responsibility, to be a resource for generating clean, renewable energy,” Potts said.
According to John Truluck, Dorchester County’s economic development director, Scout Boats, while a “homegrown company,” is more than locally well-known; he said it’s influence and customer base extends across the globe. Truluck said the company had humble beginnings but eventually transformed into one of the area’s largest manufacturing companies, with 500-plus employees.
“They’re doing things that global companies are supposed to do, like this solar project,” Truluck said. “It’s very environmentally friendly. They’re making great things but trying to do it in the right way, too.”