From Breweries to Bees, Signs of Innovative Solar Integrations in the Southeast

Ashleigh Sherman | October 30, 2023 | Clean Energy Generation, Solar

The Clean Energy Generation is making progress every day here in the Southeast, including innovative ways of integrating solar power in our public spaces, homes, and businesses. From picnic shelters with solar-powered chargers to craft beer from solar-powered breweries, our clean energy future is becoming a reality, one solar panel at a time.

Here are just a few stories that have been in the news in recent weeks showing innovative ways solar is being used in the Southeast.

Left photo of solar picnic shelter, courtesy of: Catawba College; Right: Solar Bar in Atlanta, photo courtesy of Rickman Architecture and Design

New picnic shelters give college students a solar-powered charge for their laptops

Catawba College in Salisbury, NC, installed two solar-powered picnic shelters with plans for three more. The shelters provide wireless phone chargers, USB ports, and electrical outlets. Batteries under the picnic tables store three days of energy for when there’s no sun. The picnic shelter roofs hold the solar panels and provide shade. Read more.

Nonprofit installs solar panels, plants flowers along 18 miles of west GA highway

Georgia-based nonprofit The Ray is putting “forgotten” green turf alongside highways to good use. 2,600 panels of solar power now run along an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 85 between LaGrange and West Point. Underneath these solar panels? A meadow of pollinator gardens, inviting endangered bees to pollinate. This win-win-win project is already inspiring similar ventures in Florida, Maine, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Read more.

Solar Bar opening in a converted shipping container

A new solar-powered outdoor bar opened May 20 along the Westside Beltline trail at Atlanta’s Lee and White complex. Powered by 10 solar panels, Solar Bar is housed in a converted shipping container. The panels store excess energy captured during the day in a battery system that keeps the bar up and running all night. Read more.

Right: Chris and Tara Goulet of Birdsong Brewing in Charlotte, photo courtesy of David Boraks, WFAE.

At Birdsong Brewing, climate and environment are part of the business plan

At Charlotte’s Birdsong Brewing, solar panels have been an integral part of the business plan from the start. 220 solar panels supply about 40% of the brewery and tap room’s electricity. As one of the city’s oldest craft breweries, Birdsong is an important case study in the roles environmental sustainability can play for small businesses, and how it can make the workplace happier and healthier. Read more.

Bees and electricity buzz at LaGrange solar power site

While solar panel sites have the potential to impact the open meadows and habitats that pollinators need to survive, Georgia Power’s pollinator project is helping ensure that both bees and butterflies can thrive on land used for solar by packing plants known to attract pollinators, like milkweed and beebalm, between rows of solar panels. Read more.

Classic Center project to be Georgia’s largest municipal rooftop solar energy system

1,600 solar panels are being installed on the rooftop of the Classic Center, a convention center and performing arts theater in downtown Athens, GA. This project will be Georgia’s largest municipal rooftop solar energy system when complete. Read more.

Untapped solar potential on warehouses

The U.S. must take advantage of untapped solar energy opportunities to quickly and sustainably move into a clean energy future. One of those opportunities is on warehouses. There are ~16.4 billion square feet of extensive, flat warehouse roofs across the country (and growing!) – perfect places for solar panel installations. States with the biggest potential in this area include Georgia and Florida, right here in the Southeast! Read more.

Follow along each week

These stories highlight just a few of the positive things happening in our area! Every day we see signs of hope. The Clean Energy Generation is creating a future powered by clean energy that leads to clean air and water, good jobs, and vibrant communities.

Would you like to see more stories like this? We’ve got just the thing for you! Every Thursday, we share the latest clean energy news on Instagram with #CleanEnergyNews. Join us as we celebrate the progress and signs of hope in the clean energy transition.

Join the Clean Energy Generation

Together, all of us who are taking action are part of the Clean Energy Generation movement. We’re coming together to create healthier communities and a more secure and sustainable environment, starting now. No matter your age, income, zip code, or abilities, you can play a role. You don’t have to have the answers, learning more is a great way to start. Join us, and we’ll share ideas, resources, tools, and practices to show how we can all be part of the transformation.

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Ashleigh Sherman
Ashleigh Sherman is the SACE Digital Communications Manager. She oversees the strategy behind and management of our social media accounts, leveraging SACE’s digital channels to drive awareness, engagement, and action.…
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