The co-owner of Trophy Brewing Company, a popular brewery and restaurant in Raleigh, on how the Inflation Reduction Act will help his business be more environmentally friendly. (Image via Trophy Brewing's Facebook page) Trophy Brewing Company in Raleigh
The co-owner of Trophy Brewing Company, a popular brewery and restaurant in Raleigh, on how the Inflation Reduction Act will help his business be more environmentally friendly. (Image via Trophy Brewing's Facebook page)

A Raleigh brewery and restaurant owner on President Biden and Democrats’ big climate change bill, which includes billions of dollars in incentives for businesses to invest in clean energy.

As the owner of a restaurant powered by renewable energy, one of my top concerns this midterm cycle is electing leaders who will tackle climate change.

President Biden recently signed the Inflation Reduction Act — which Congressman Ted Budd and every other Republican from North Carolina voted against — that will help restaurants like mine and around the Triangle take steps to combat climate change and lower costs along the way. 

At Trophy Brewing, we’ve already begun to implement renewable energy initiatives.

When we opened our doors in 2013, we knew we had to do a few renovations to keep up with the growing market around us. We also knew that we couldn’t do these renovations without going green. 

Today, we’re proud to say that we have a green roof above our brewery.

The roof is 1,500 square feet and was implemented with the goal for rainwater to not run into the rivers and streams and flood people downstream. 

We also have solar panels on our roof, which had an upfront cost but quickly paid for themselves.

To break it down, we spent $60,000 on our solar panels, but we got a tax credit for a third of that as well as a Duke Energy rebate. Pretty quickly, we had already gotten about 40% of our cost back.

We also have no car parking spots on our lot. Instead, we encourage customers to walk or bike, which also saves us paying for car parking spots and doesn’t take out nearly as much room. 

These steps we’ve taken don’t only decrease our carbon footprint but reduce our utility bills at the same time – a big win for our small business. While we’ve taken these steps, there’s still more we can do. That’s where President Biden and Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act will help. 

The Inflation Reduction Act is the biggest step our federal government has taken towards combating climate change, ever.

Climate Change in North Carolina
An aerial view of flooding in Wilson, N.C. after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Climate change experts say the warming Earth is going to make catastrophic flooding and storm events more common. (Shutterstock)

In North Carolina, millions of low to middle income households will be eligible for rebates covering 50-100% of new electric appliances.

It will invest an estimated $2.7 billion into large-scale clean power storage in our state between now and 2030.

It will create 462,900 clean energy jobs in North Carolina, offer discounts up to $7,500 for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used EVs, and help North Carolina’s 45,100 farms not only lead on climate solutions but reward them for doing so – and much more.

For the over 964,200 small businesses in North Carolina, Trophy Brewing and many other restaurants included, the Inflation Reduction Act will save us money. It will lower utility bills and provide tax credits up to $5 per square foot to support energy efficiency improvements.

It will also provide tax credits covering 30 percent of installing low-cost solar power in addition to buying clean trucks and vans. It will do all of this by making big corporations pay their fair share, reducing the deficit and fighting inflation – without raising taxes on families making under $400,000 a year. 

Ted Budd and North Carolina Republicans voted against these benefits that will impact small businesses in North Carolina like mine. This isn’t the first time Budd’s chosen special interests over North Carolinians’ interests, but it’s further proof he won’t prioritize the future of North Carolina’s small business and also do what’s right. 

Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, the Inflation Reduction Act is an exciting opportunity for restaurants across the Triangle to grow sustainably in coming years. This leadership is critical to not only the future of small business, but for everyone. In November, it’s on all of us to choose leaders who will continue to build on this progress.