Santee Cooper wants solar farm near Myrtle Beach’s airport

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Santee Cooper is looking to build what could be the largest solar farm in the city right next to the airport.

There could soon be hundreds of solar panels producing electricity near the runway at Myrtle Beach International Airport.

Santee Cooper has asked the city to allow a solar farm on about 17 acres of land off South Kings Highway near the airport.

“We haven’t had that much in the city in terms of a farm,” said city planning director Carol Coleman. “I’ve seen a lot more panels going on houses.”

The city’s planning commission talked about Santee Cooper’s proposal during a technical review meeting Monday. Santee Cooper would lease the land from Horry County, which owns the airport.

Coleman says glare from the panels shining towards airplanes doesn’t appear to be an issue in the early proposal.

“They’ve probably vetted that out,” she said. “I don’t know that they would have anything that would cause reflections or anything along those lines. The first time I heard about it, that was my concern, is it going to be an issue?”

This wouldn’t be the electric company’s first solar farm on the Grand Strand. Santee Cooper opened up the 10-acre Bell Bay Solar Farm earlier this year, with about 6,000 panels off U.S. Highway 701 near Conway. Santee Cooper also has a small farm on Mr. Joe White Avenue in Myrtle Beach.

The proposed farm would require park land near the airport to be rezoned. It would go from “parks, recreation and conservation” to “highway commercial.”

Coleman says the city may need to update its laws.

“Do we want to look at the possibility of changing some text language with regards to renewable resources, renewable energy,” she said.

Coleman also says the airport will get information from the city about the proposal this week.

The farm could be discussed as soon as August’s full planning commission meeting on August 21.

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