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Montgomery business goes solar, city offering solar permit fee credits

Pipken's Solar Array

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - "We want to go green because we're a green grocer. We want to be environmental. Also, in the future, once it pays for itself in about 10 years, it will be making money for us," said Ben Pipkin, co-owner of Pipkin's Fruit and Vegetable Market.

You may not have noticed it walking into Pipkins Fruit and Vegetable Market in Montgomery, but part-owner Ben Pipkin has had a solar array on his roof for the last 2 and 1/2 years. He didn't just install the array to save money; he also had environmental motivation.

"Every kilowatt of energy we burn around here mostly comes from coal power, and that's putting carbon into the air. We do this, and we reduce that by 30%, and it's 30% less carbon that we are generating, which reducing the greenhouse effect that is causing our climate change," Pipkin explained.

Pipkin says he is seeing climate change's impact on his business, and these impacts validate his decision to install a solar array.

Pipkin said, "This year has been a difficult year. In the wintertime, [there were] a lot of storms at unexpected times, hot weather at unexpected times that have caused the availability of produce to go down and the price to go up."

Regardless of the motivation, the City of Montgomery is encouraging residents to go solar and take advantage of up to $1,000 in permit fee credits.

"You just simply need to apply for your building permit and we will waive all of the building and zoning fees associated with that. We also generally will refer you to down to the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, and they have great programs that will partner you with solar installers that will help you get a free solar assessment and determine what type of project would be best for your home or business," said Tracy Roblero, Community Development Director for the City of Montgomery.

Pipkin said there are also tax credits beyond the local level available.

"There's a lot of incentive to do it not just from the City of Montgomery through the abatement of their building permit, there's still a 30% credit from the federal government off of your taxes, so you can take 30% of the cost off of your taxes. If you're a business, you can also depreciate it on an accelerated schedule," said Pipkin.

Whether it’s for the cost savings or minimizing your carbon footprint, initiatives are friendly sign for Montgomery residents wanting to be environmentally-friendly.

"Our city council has always had the foresight to be very progressive in terms of environmental quality throughout the city in all of our city buildings and through educating the public on environmental important issues such as solar, energy efficiency, etc.," said Roblero.

Pipkin said, "I have an environmental science degree. It's very satisfying to do this and to reduce the carbon output we generate."

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