Obama Puts Solar Panels on Brewery to Fight Climate Change

Administration announces $6.7 million in additional funding

• June 10, 2015 1:40 pm


The Obama administration is fighting climate change by putting solar panels on a brewery in Wyoming.

The White House announced $6.7 million in additional spending to "bring jobs and clean energy to rural America" in a fact sheet Wednesday. The funding will pay for businesses to install solar panels.

The administration praised the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) for giving $13,810 to a brewery.

"Today, [U.S. Department of Agriculture] Secretary Tom Vilsack will visit the Snake River Brewing Company, in Jackson, Wyoming, one of the REAP awardees that received nearly $14,000 in funding to install a solar panels on their business, which is estimated to save the brewery nearly $1,200 on their electricity bill each year," the White House press office said.

The Snake River Brewing Company specializes in "certified organic brews made with sustainable practices," has always been non-smoking, and is "packed with college kids everywhere," according to one Google review.

Snake River was among 19 breweries that signed a Climate Declaration, organized by environmentalist group Ceres, pledging to brew environmentally friendly beer.

A spokesperson for the brewery said it was grateful for USDA Secretary Vilsack's visit, and that customers will soon be able to watch a monitor of the energy created by the solar panels as they drink a beer.

"We had shopped this years ago and did not pull the trigger but the recent USDA Rural Energy Assistance Program grant pushed us over the edge to go forward," said Chris Erickson. "A local Wyoming based company Creative Energies has designed and will be installing the system which includes a real time display near our front desk so the patrons of our brewpub can see for themselves the energy we are generating."

"While Wyoming is currently one of the leading producers of coal, oil and gas, it just so happens we are also blessed with abundant solar and wind resources," he said. "We hope that our small project can help everyone see the potential of  the renewable sources and that Wyoming can continue to help power the nation cleanly and sustainably."

The solar panel project is just one of 550 announced by the White House. The nearly $7 million in spending comes on top of more than $2 billion spent by the administration for green energy projects in rural America since President Obama took office.

The White House fact sheet said the administration has spent $545 million through the REAP program and more than $1.7 billion to electricity companies to "reduce carbon pollution."

The White House press office said climate change "can no longer be seen as a distant threat."

"That is why the president is taking action now," it said. "The sooner we act, the more we can do to protect rural America, especially the areas that are the most vulnerable. "

The announcement said global warming is to blame for floods, extreme heat, drought, wildfires, disease, and "pests."