Many breweries are considering switching to solar as DC opens its first solar-powered pub. Hillary Vaughn from FOX Business with more.
Rays from the golden sun are becoming an important part of the 21st century beer recipe, but just like ales have their downsides, so does solar energy.
After the devastating cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, which led to a gas shortage on the east coast, the Biden government's push towards clean power sources was back in the spotlight. As the Democrats urge American businesses to adopt green energy and offer bountiful monetary incentives, some small businesses are seizing the opportunity to adjust to the government's penny.
Just four miles from the White House, Atlas Brew Works was ahead of the curve – in 2015 the switch switched to electricity and switched to solar. The capital's only solar-powered craft brewery has a 68-kilowatt array of solar panels on the roof that allows it to use and store its own electricity.
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Atlas isn't the only brewery committed to the solar energy trend.
California – the nation's leading provider of 13 solarized breweries – is home to companies like Sierra Nevada in Chico, which maintains over 10,000 solar panels (enough roof space to fill three and a half soccer fields), and more are expected to be on the way to the state attributed in large part to progressive tax credits.
The federal government grants a solar tax credit, also called Investment Tax Credit (ITC), with which companies and homeowners can deduct part of their solar costs. Currently, homeowners and businesses can qualify for a federal tax credit equal to 26% of the cost of their solar panel system minus any cash rebates, according to Energy Sage. The number should drop to 22% in 2021 but was recently extended at the current rate to 2022 when President Trump signed the Consolidated Funds Act in late December 2021.
In addition to providing a tax credit, state and local governments are spewing cash out to convince consumers and businesses to go all-in on solar energy. Washington DC is one of the most progressive.
The combination of DC and federal tax credits allows local businesses to pay more than 87% of their costs from taxpayers, which means a $ 20,000 installation would cost a company the much cheaper alternative of around $ 2,500 – with DC taxpayers the Take over the invoice.
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“DC is one of the best places in the country for grants or tax credits [that are] out there for solar production, “said Justin Cox, Founder and CEO of Atlas Brew Works.
“It's wonderful because not only do you get the benefit of cheaper electricity with the green energy you generate, but you also get credits on renewable solar energy that you can then sell [on the] Market, “he remarked.
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Cox estimates that Atlas has saved about 35% on its electricity bill since switching to solar energy in August 2015, even though it is more difficult to reproduce energy in winter than in summer.
Even so, not everything can be powered by the sun. Cox says they need natural gas to power their broilers – which they use to boil wort – one of the most important and complex aspects of the brewing process – before it turns into beer.
“I think we'd probably still need an electrical hook-up so the bigger devices get us through the times when we don't have sun,” said the owner.
Biden's government aims to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2035, but solar energy cannot do without market challenges.
China is currently the world leader in solar module manufacturing, but President Biden promises to change that and make the US a leading manufacturer of solar parts and modules.
However, the US still has a long way to go. Currently, according to Energy Digital, the US solar industry is reliant on imports, which together make up 80% of the supply of US solar modules and parts from other countries.
And now, unless the supply chain changes, China will benefit most from the Biden government's desire to switch to solar. In 2020 alone, China shipped 62% of the world's solar cells and panels, according to SPV Market Research.
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One possible solution to this problem is tariffs.
Last March, the Biden administration backed the Trump administration's stance on solar tariffs in a file filed in the US Commercial Court that angered progressive solar activists who claimed the decision was “unlawful.”
This was supported by 17 CEOs of solar development companies and renewable energy trading organizations in a letter to President Biden, who described President Trump's 2020 Customs Proclamation as “punitive and ill-conceived”. In addition, 12 Senate Democrats sent a similar letter to President Biden urging the government to “repeal” [Trump's] harmful solar tariffs “.