Birmingham, AL -- May 25, 2021 -- Eagle Solar & Light, LLC (ESL) announced its installation at the Ferus Artisan Ales brewery, which will result in a 125.28 kilowatt rooftop system producing an estimated 168,000 kWh annually.

“We’re excited to be the first brewery in Alabama to offer solar-powered craft beers,” says Coby Lake, owner of Ferus Artisan Ales, based in Trussville. “The cost savings coupled with the opportunity to do the right thing for the planet made this project a no-brainer.”

When complete, the project will save the equivalent of 119 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. And the system is projected to save $20,000 in its first year alone, with increased savings as utility rates continue to climb.

According to the Brewer’s Association, between 12 and 22 kilowatt-hours of electricity are required to produce a single barrel of beer. That means that even smaller, microbreweries, which by definition can produce no more than 15,000 barrels per year, will consume between 180,000 and 330,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. 

“We are thrilled to be working with the Ferus Artisan Ales team, and we applaud their vision and commitment to clean energy,” says Sam Yates, CEO of Eagle Solar & Light. “The project illustrates how solar can help small businesses save money, especially important on the heels of a pandemic. In addition, products created using renewable energy can be very attractive both to customers as well as resellers, which can help sales tremendously.” 

According to a survey by the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, demand for environmentally sustainable products and business practices grew by 61 percent during the pandemic, and 50 percent of brands and retailers expect that trend to continue. A Purdue study found 75% of beer consumers are willing to pay a premium for beverages brewed using environmentally sustainable practices.

“We hear that the Ferus Artisan Ales are among the best around. After days in the sun installing the panels, our team looks forward to celebrating by sampling some; a perk, you might say, of the job,” continued Yates.


About Eagle Solar & Light:  Founded in early 2016 to equalize access to commercial and residential solar energy in the Southeast, Eagle Solar & Light (ESL) provides a full general contracting experience. We believe that individuals and businesses should have access to clean, abundant solar energy so they can save money and gain energy security, and we are working to bring those same opportunities to underserved and marginalized communities.

With certifications and achievements from the North American Board of Certified Electrical Practitioners and general contractor licensure in Alabama, George and North Carolina, our trade knowledge and training sets us apart. We constantly seek opportunities to educate our communities about solar energy and power a brighter tomorrow.

About Ferus Artisan Ales: We at Ferus Artisan Ales believe in creating amazing beers, from hoppy IPAs to hearty stouts. Our chef-curated eatery menu, outdoor entertainment, taproom, & event space combine to provide an unparalleled brewery & restaurant experience.

Take this opportunity to learn about how solar energy works for churches.  Watch the recording of Eagle Solar & Light's NC Regional Director, Scott Alexander, share the details of St. Francis of Assisi Church's solar project, how this commitment helps the parish live out its mission and values, and ways to take the next step in solar for your church, business, or home.

But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.”  Job 12: 7-10 

Solar Energy for Churches


by Laura Combs, ESL Business Development Director

For those considering investing in solar energy for their business, non-profit or home, really thinking about and understanding what solar panels can do for you can be confusing. If you are like I was, you think that solar energy is a great idea but you can’t quite see how it actually benefits you financially. Few people are fluent in kilowatts (kW), kilowatt hours (kWh), demand charges and other energy terms, and most of us definitely don’t think about them every day or even once a year. They are something reported on our electricity bills to be glanced over as we get to the bottom line. But they matter!

Your Bill

While most of us just focus on the final figure, it’s important to understand the terms.

For residential, it’s relatively easy. We are assessed fixed charges (monthly fee or rider – most frequently a REPS or Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard rider) and the variable or volume charge, which relates to the amount of energy you use and is shown as kilowatt hours on your bill. Kilowatt hours can vary dramatically month-to-month depending on how much energy your house consumes. You can see a sample residential Duke Energy bill here: Reading Your Residential Bill. We encourage all of our customers to read their applicable rate schedule (an explanation of fixed and variable charges), which you can view here: North Carolina Index of Rate Schedules. Dividing the total amount of the bill by the number of kilowatt hours used will give you the “blended” rate of what you pay; it is a blend of the fixed and kilowatt hour cost.  Keep in mind that your fixed rates are going to stay the same each month (unless the Utility Commission allows Duke to change them), and your kilowatt hour use will vary based on what you actually use. The blended rate serves as the baseline when determining how solar energy offsets your monthly electricity charges.

Commercial customer’s bills are more complicated because the utility assesses the fixed charges, the variable kilowatt hour charge, as well as a “demand” charge. The demand charge is the fee determined by the highest amount of power drawn from the grid during any interval (typically 15 minutes) during the billing period. A sample Duke Energy bill is here: Reading Your Business Bill.

For some commercial rates, such as Medium General Service (MGS), kilowatt hour costs are fixed/not variable ($.0706 per kWh), and the same for the demand charge ($5.86 per kW).

The rate is tiered for some types of customers, such as Small General Service (SGS), which is the rate for many small churches. This means that the more kilowatt hours that you use, the lower the cost per kilowatt hour. For example, for SGS the first 750 kWh is the most expensive at over $.10 per kWh, but the price drops as more kilowatt hours are consumed. And there are even more complicated rate structures!

Don’t worry about understanding it all now - we can help you figure it out. But understanding how you are charged for energy at home and at your business can help you understand how to reduce your costs.  Solar is one such way - so how does it do that?

The Solar Panel

Let’s start at the solar energy baseline – the solar panel. Solar panel output is measured in watts (W). A premium, new, fixed solar panel produces between 300W and 400W per hour, depending on the manufacturer, the model, the location and the weather. North Carolina averages about 4.5 hours of peak, usable solar energy per day. If your home or business is unshaded and the panels are facing south and weather conditions are optimal, a panel will produce approximately 1.4kWh per day for every solar panel installed.

Another way to think about it is in kilowatts – which is the measurement that you find on your business account bill. A 10kW solar panel system (between 25-35 panels depending on the manufacturer) will produce about 14,000 kWh a year. A good rule of thumb is that for every kilowatt of solar you install in North Carolina, approximately 1,400 kWh are generated with ideal conditions. A kilowatt hour production estimate for your system, worthy of another blog post, is based on weather data coupled with technical data of the specific panel, as well as the orientation of the building. The estimate is critical to understanding how a solar energy system will impact your bill.

Net Metering

Fortunately for everyone, the North Carolina Utilities Commission requires Net Metering from Duke Energy, as it has been shown to benefit all customers. Here’s how that works: Let’s say you decide to put a system on your home, place of worship or business, but you are generally out of the building during normal business hours. What happens to those unused kilowatt hours generated by your solar panels?  Because your system is producing kilowatt hours every sunny day, if you are not there to consume them all, the kilowatt hours will flow directly to the electricity grid! This is where Net Metering comes into the equation. Net metering can get a bit complicated, but at its most basic, it describes a billing mechanism between a utility and a customer who is self-generating power. It involves a bi-directional meter that registers when 1) a customer consumes utility grid-supplied power and 2) when their self-generating system is supplying power back to the grid. When the meter is spinning backwards (Yay!) utilities will often credit solar customers for these kilowatt hours at the retail rate, which is the same rate at which you purchase it.

Putting it All Together

Energy use by homes and businesses can vary for a number of reasons, and as we discussed, rate structures for businesses add another layer of complication. We do know that when you install solar, you may purchase significantly less kilowatt hours from Duke Energy and, therefore, save money!

If you have a business that primarily operates during the day, you will also see a reduction in your peak demand charge because your solar panels will be producing and offsetting your maximum energy draw from the utility grid. A school, for example, can see upwards of a 30% reduction in its demand charges because the school’s peak demand is likely when the sun is producing!

If your business has a fairly constant load or demand that is higher in the evening - think hotels/hospitals - or facilities that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week - solar is not going to have a dramatic impact on demand because your “peak demand” may be at a time when the solar panels aren’t producing and are unable to offset your power draw from the grid. That said, you will likely be able to take advantage of net metering and your system will pay for itself and save you money.

In summary, every kilowatt hour matters! Before investing in solar technology, we recommend reducing your energy consumption. Harvard University has great recommendations here: Top 5 Steps to Reduce Your Energy Consumption. When you are ready to invest in your own green energy power plant, we are here to help you think through your choices.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. Thank you for reading!

Laura Combs and (919) 275-2245

Laura Combs is Eagle Solar & Light’s Business Development Director in North Carolina. She has a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, with a specialty in Environmental Planning. Laura is a former environmental non-profit employee who worked to recover the endangered Florida manatee, is very aware of the need for maintaining slim overhead and maximizing funds, and she is very grateful to bring her knowledge and skills to Eagle Solar & Light and its customers.

In an effort to expand access to clean, renewable energy in Alabama, Gasp announced a new partnership with Eagle Solar & Light. Under the agreement, the solar energy company will offer a 5% discount on residential and commercial solar installations to members who join or renew their Gasp membership with a donation of $50 or more.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce this unique partnership with Eagle Solar & Light,” said Gasp Executive Director Michael Hansen. “In order to solve many of the urgent issues facing our state like pollution and climate change, we need to dramatically increase deployment of clean, renewable energy like solar across Alabama.”

Founded in 2009, Gasp is a Birmingham-based nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing air pollution through education and advocacy. Increasing demand for and access to affordable clean energy like solar is a vital part of the group’s work to reduce pollution — including greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel based energy.

“We’re proud to partner with a community-based organization like Gasp,” said Eagle Solar & Light Founder Sam Yates. “Solar power is not only the energy of future, it’s also one of the best ways to reduce our impact on the planet because solar panels don’t emit pollution.”

Eagle Solar & Light, also headquartered in Birmingham, was founded in 2016 by Sam Yates. The company is leading provider of modern energy solutions, like solar and LED lighting, in Alabama. The company recently opened an office in North Carolina.

The savings from the discount will help to offset some of Alabama’s anti-solar policy barriers facing homeowners and businesses. With the new partnership, Eagle Solar & Light will also donate a portion of the proceeds from each project back to Gasp.

Gasp is a nonprofit health advocacy organization whose mission is to reduce air pollution through education and advocacy. Our vision is a healthy, just, and sustainable Alabama. We strive to reduce air pollution, to educate the public on the health risks associated with poor air quality and to encourage community leaders to serve as role models for clean air and clean energy development.

Eagle Solar & Light strives to be the leading modern energy solutions provider for the markets in which we serve. Each member of the ESL team has a commitment to constantly drive a customer-focused approach in all that we do. We are backed by some of the nation’s largest and best distributors, allowing us to provide world-class products and services.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 13, 2018) — Daily, it is estimated that over 100,000 people travel Highway 280. Many have likely noticed the highway’s newest neighbor, SouthPoint Bank, in place of the former Kobe restaurant. What they cannot see while driving is the solar power that SouthPoint Bank is harvesting.

Eagle Solar & Light recently installed a 60-kilowatt solar system on the new bank. This system consists of two hundred and eight solar panels, or modules, and is designed to produce over 73,000 kilowatt hours of power annually. Solar power is not only good for the environment; it is also projected to save SouthPoint Bank over $10,000 per year on their utility bill.

“When we began the design process for our new headquarters, we knew this building needed to not only serve our need for space, but also to better our efficiency. Early on we decided to incorporate modern, clean energy technology to decrease our energy costs and make our contribution to environmental sustainability,” says SouthPoint Bank’s CEO Steve Smith. “At SouthPoint Bank, our goal is to look to the future and point forward with continuous improvement in technology. Utilizing solar energy within our corporate headquarters is one step toward achieving that goal.”

The solar panels selected by Eagle Solar & Light are produced in Jackson, Mississippi by Seraphim Solar. The use of American made solar panels defies the trend of using cheaper imported panels. Eagle Solar and Light trusts the quality of Seraphim Solar panels and backs their manufacturer’s 25-year warranty. Other American made components in this system are provided by SolarEdge and Snap’N’Rack.

“We were also able to meet our goal of supporting local companies by using a local contractor Eagle Solar & Light, plus using American solar panels rather than sourcing them from Asia,” says Smith.

“Using American made products means a lot to us and our customers, and that is why whenever possible we source our products from American companies,” says Eagle Solar & Light CEO, Sam Yates. “We strive to meet the goals of every customer we serve.”

As one of the first solar companies to open in the central Alabama region, Eagle Solar & Light provides architecturally advanced, aesthetically designed solar electricity, LED lighting solutions and energy saving products that offer long-term economic benefits.