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Local Businesses Turn to Solar Energy

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An ordinance establishing the Athens Sustainability Action Plan was approved unanimously at Monday’s City Council meeting.  The 32-page plan focuses on improving energy efficiency, the economy, housing and development, and reducing greenhouse-gas commissions.

“This report has been created as a road map to a healthier, cleaner, more equitable and prosperous future for us all,” said Athens Mayor Steve Patterson.

Part of the plan calls for the increased use of solar power.

Little Fish Brewing Company Installing Solar Panels
Little Fish Brewing Company installing solar panels

But two Athens area businesses are already installing solar panels on their own. Little Fish Brewing Company and Devil’s Kettle Brewing have taken the initiative by obtaining a federal grant to move off-the-grid.

Little Fish co-owner and head brewer Sean White said it’s all about sustainability.

Co-owner Sean White
Co-owner Sean White

“As solar gets cheaper, just being able to put that on your house or buy an electric car, maybe power your car.” he said. “We have this potential to create more localized energy grids and I think that will be a little bit of an insurance against anything catastrophic happening.”

But not all his power will be generated by the solar panels.

“We should be able to get about one third of our overall electricity usage out of solar,” White said. “We’ll keep the other two thirds as wind power.”

In addition to adding solar panels, Little Fish is also working on sustainability in other areas of the business. The brewery is part of a zero-waste initiative that tracks utility usage by auditing waste and compost. White said having an environmentally friendly workspace is important to him and the business.