December 25, 2016
MTU America is planning to invest in a clean energy system in Aiken County.
Aiken County Council this month passed first reading, by title only, an ordinance to execute a ground lease agreement to lease to MTU, approximately 8 acres of land at Sage Mill Industrial Park for use as a site to construct a clean solar energy system.
MTU manufactures large diesel engines and complete propulsion systems, according to its website, and has a manufacturing facility in Aiken County.
Council documents state its solar energy system would generate electricity for a term of 20 years, subject to certain conditions.
Will Williams, president and CEO of the Economic and Development Partnership of Aiken, Edgefield and Saluda counties, said MTU is investing $1.8 million to have equipment that will generate 1 mega watt of solar power.
MTU will lease property at Sage Mill to install the solar, and that power will go back on the grid but will help offset their power costs, he said.
Williams pointed out there has been a tremendous amount of solar projects announced around the state over the last year, mentioning an intended $200 million investment from Adger Solar, a clean energy development company, in two separate solar farm projects in Clarendon County, announced by the South Carolina Department of Commerce in November.
He also noted a $12 million investment in solar energy projects in Saluda County from Cypress Creek Renewables, a company that specializes in the ownership and development of long-term solar energy projects, which was publicized earlier this year in January.
“Obviously, it’s a renewable source of electricity, and it helps the electric rate power costs overall,” Williams said.
In other business, a $112,000 site enhancement grant from the State Department of Commerce will be used for location signage at Sage Mill.
“If you were riding down Bettis Academy Road across the interstate no on would know they were in Sage Mill Industrial Park,” Williams said. “So, finally, we got that.”
Aiken County’s match for the grant is $15,000.
Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian has said the County will get the revenue from a tree-thinning process at Sage Mill, which among other things, will help with fire safety.