KFC has installed a solar-powered drive-thru canopy at a Bakersfield, California, restaurant, according to a press release.
The 72-foot canopy, installed by Integrate Solar, was designed in partnership with KFC franchisee Stewart Restaurant Group. It’s equipped with 57 solar panels and will produce 1.2 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy over the lifetime of the system. In return, the KFC location will lower its electricity costs by $11,000 in its first year and will save nearly $400,000 over the system’s guaranteed life.
“As California’s electricity rates continue to rise, fast food restaurants have looked for ways to lower their energy bills but have never found their small, equipment-filled rooftops viable options for solar,” Kevin Benefiel, Integrate Solar co-founder, said. “This solution solves that problem and helps improve a store’s operations overnight.”
“We needed a canopy over our drive-thru to protect our team members taking orders outside of the building. When we compared the costs of a typical canopy to the costs and value of Integrate Solar’s canopy, the decision to go solar was a no-brainer!” Justin Stewart, co-owner of the Stewart Restaurant Group, said in the press release.
Solar canopies ultimately cost less than comparably-sized traditional canopies because solar canopies qualify for a Federal Investment Tax Credit worth up to 60% of the total cost of the canopy. The extension and expansion of the solar Investment Tax Credit was part of the Inflation Reduction Act that Congress passed in 2022. With help from the tax incentives, the energy savings generated from the solar panels will allow the Stewarts to have fully recovered their investment in less than five years.