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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Solar Energy Investment

Nov 04, 2022 01:10PM ● By David Dykes

Ecoplexus Makes $89 Million Investment in Newberry County

Ecoplexus, a leading global solar energy company, announced plans to establish a new solar farm operation in Newberry County. The company is investing $89 million into the project.

Ecoplexus is an international renewable energy company that develops, owns and operates utility-scale solar projects for commercial, government and utility markets.

The company’s services also include the design, engineering, construction and financing of renewable energy systems. With a focus on sustainability, the company is committed to a future of clean power by using renewable business practices to lower carbon footprints.     

Located at 3840 Island Ford Road in Silverstreet, Ecoplexus’ operation will be a photovoltaic solar farm capable of generating up to 74.94 megawatts of renewable energy.

“Ecoplexus appreciates the opportunity to partner with the leadership and the people of Newberry County to bring new investment and additional tax revenues to this vibrant community,” said Ecoplexus President and Chief Commercial Officer Erik Stube.

“We value the welcoming support the Newberry solar project has received and look forward to working together to bring clean energy to the local power grid.”

Operations are expected to be online in 2025.

Columbia Drew 15 Million Visitors Last Year

Experience Columbia SC, the Destination Marketing Organization for the Columbia region, announced that tourism is thriving again, to the tune of 15.1 million visitors in 2021. 

President and CEO Bill Ellen said the numbers show that tourism here is back and in full swing. 

“Thanks to a successful recovery strategy and recovery funding from our stakeholders, our region welcomed 15.1 million visitors in 2021,” Ellen said.

“But that doesn’t just happen on its own. We are telling our story in many ways and driving visitors to the destination. Our staff are experts in the tourism industry, staying on top of trends in the meetings, sports and leisure markets. And we couldn’t do it without our hospitality partners, stakeholders and funding partners.”

Tourism in the Columbia region has a $2.4 billion economic impact, generates $120 million in state and local taxes and is responsible for 21,000 jobs. There are also 5.4 million overnight visitors.

These statistics, compiled by Longwoods International and Tourism Economics, are above pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.

Columbia SC Tourism is responsible for various components of promoting and marketing tourism throughout Richland County, Lexington County, and the City of Columbia.  It is made up of three branches – Experience Columbia SC, Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and Experience Columbia SC Sports.

In just over one year, the organization hosted 32 site visits with meeting planners, attended 34 tradeshows, hosted 14 travel writers and influencers and 38 sporting events.

“The convention center broke an all-time record for booking revenue, we have 20 locals participating in the Columbia SC Ambassador Program, and PR campaigns like the Pimento Cheese Passport and Reconstruction Trail engage visitors and locals alike,” Ellen said.

The organization’s annual report was also released and includes a breakdown of statistics and strategies by department. View it here.

Toys for Tots Kicks Off 2022 Holiday Campaign

Marine Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Community Action Program, announces its 75th anniversary of supporting children in need across the nation and the kickoff of the program’s 2022 holiday campaign.

The idea of the Marine Toys for Tots Program began in 1947 at the helm of Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks. Hendricks’ wife, Diane, was the inspiration behind the program after she asked Hendricks to deliver some handcrafted dolls to an agency that supported children in need. 

When Hendricks reported back to his wife that he could not find an agency for the handcrafted dolls, Diane encouraged her husband to “start one.”

The Marine Toys for Tots Program began as just one campaign in 1947 with Hendricks and the Marines in his Reserve unit collecting over 5,000 toys and delivering them to children in need in the Los Angeles area.

The following year, under the direction of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Clifton B. Cates, every Marine Corps Reserve unit implemented a Toys for Tots campaign — which transformed Toys for Tots into a National Community Action Program.

Marine Toys for Tots had a record-breaking year in 2021 and distributed an unprecedented 22.4 million toys to 8.7 million disadvantaged children.

The Toys for Tots Literacy Program has also expanded since its inception in 2008 by providing books to nonprofits to distribute books to Title I funded schools across the nation. Over 47 million books have been distributed.

This year’s campaign kicked off at the beginning of November and runs through Dec. 25. For more information about the program or how to donate, visit

RapidDeploy Chosen for 988 Mental Health Hotline

RapidDeploy, the leading cloud-native mapping and analytics solutions for Public Safety, announces that RapidDeploy's Radius Mapping has been selected by Mental Health America of Greenville County as the new statewide 988 solution for the state of South Carolina.

RapidDeploy is currently deployed statewide in nine states and in hundreds of local 9-1-1 centers across the country. This is its first statewide venture into 988 centers.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline launched over the summer as a three-digit code that is easy to remember for people who are in an emotional, substance, or suicidal crisis.

As mental health concerns continue to grow across the nation, 988 is an important tool for communities to support their people in need. Since 988 is new and the number of calls are growing, many states are collaborating with 9-1-1 on available services and how to better communicate with callers in a more intentional and purposeful way.  

RapidDeploy is a leader in 9-1-1 call-taker mapping and analytics.

Integrating with incoming calls, Radius Mapping supplies mobile handset caller location data, supplemental data for improved situational awareness, GIS authoritative data, and modern communication workflows with 2-way texting and streaming video, all in a single view.

Radius Mapping will be used in South Carolina to solve some of the current challenges with 988 related to routing, communication, and resource location. 988 callers need to talk to people close by, in their local language, through text if needed, and 988 centers need to know the available resources to help. RapidDeploy supports them in all these efforts and more.

“We are excited to work with the RapidDeploy team and 9-1-1,” said Jennifer Piver, executive director of Mental Health America of Greenville County.

“Every second counts when a life is at risk.”

Greenville County Sheriff's Office in South Carolina has been a user of Radius Mapping for many years, reducing response times and improving 9-1-1 caller outcomes. As part of the 988 and 9-1-1 collaboration they were able to make recommendations of 9-1-1 technology that would be support the needs of 988 as well.

“RapidDeploy has been a game-changer for Greenville County Sheriff's Office,” said Amy McDowell, deputy director of E9-1-1 for Greenville County.

“9-1-1 and 988 are working closely together in South Carolina, sharing tools like RapidDeploy that help us better support Greenville County citizens.”

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