[image-1]Charleston’s Anita Zucker, the CEO of chemical company InterTech Group, is number 209 on an annual Forbes list of the top 400 richest Americans. The magazine released its latest rankings this morning. 

Zucker has a net worth of $2.6 billion, according to Forbes, climbing 20 spots in the ranking since last year. The $4 billion InterTech Group makes specialty chemicals, high-tech fibers and precision aircraft parts, according to the popular financial magazine. Zucker also owns the Carolina Ice Palace and 50 percent of the minor league hockey Stingrays team.

During the last legislative session, InterTech’s senior vice president, Grant Reeves, spoke multiple times to lawmakers about why companies like Zucker’s support more independent use of solar power in South Carolina. 

The state doesn’t allow third-parties to install solar panels that are not connected to the electrical grid, Reeves said during one presentation to about a dozen senators in a hearing on conservation issues. 

“Essentially South Carolina is really behind other states in our region in terms of installing solar panel generation,” Reeves said. “South Carolina is a sunshine state and I believe we should be a part of solar energy’s growth.”

Solar panels are expensive to install on houses and businesses, but third-party companies like InterTech can collect federal tax incentives and deductions for investment in solar power and lease the panels to users.

The Palmetto State has one of the most restrictive policies in the nation when it comes to solar power, according to the The State newspaper in Columbia. Reporter Sammy Fretwell reviewed records and interviewed those who track solar legislation for a series on the issue.  

“Complicated laws, resistance from power companies, poor tax incentives and an emphasis on nuclear energy have kept solar from becoming much of a player in South Carolina despite an abundance of sunshine,” he reported. “South Carolina’s interest in solar energy is so faint that national studies rank the state at, or near, the bottom in the use and promotion of sun power.”

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