Inspired by a visit to Portland, OR where he saw firsthand a number of rooftop solar installations, South Carolina state Sen. Greg Gregory has led conservatives in his state toward acceptance and adoption of more solar power. He drafted and ushered through the legislative process a solar bill and the ultimate compromise adopted by the state.

“It seemed ridiculous to me that a state that is cloudy 8 months a year had so much solar energy, while South Carolina had so little,” he observed.

South Carolina’s solar law, passed in 2014, moved the state from near the bottom of the list in a national ranking to 34th for installed solar capacity. Gregory and his allies hope to see the state’s progress jump to 20th in the nation as they strive to meet a goal of expanding from 7 to 765 megawatts of installed solar capacity over the next five years. Gregory will reintroduce in the next session a bill to prevent taxation of residential and commercial solar.

“We may not be as far along as North Carolina or Georgia, but we’re in the game now. I’m encouraged by the momentum we have. I’m putting solar panels on my personal building supply business,” he said. “Renewable energy is something conservatives should be in favor of. It gives people freedom of choice for their energy source. But we still have some Rush Limbaugh listeners who categorically oppose any solar energy.”