Dig Baton Rouge

Battle of the Boil

By Jana King

There are thousands of ways to boil crawfish and countless seasonings and herbs

On Saturday, May 9 teams gathered at Tin Roof Brewery to face off in a crawfish boil competition to benefit the Gulf States Renewable Energy Industries Association.

The teams displayed a playfully competitive spirit as each dished out crawfish to locals who attended the all-you-can-eat crawfish boil. Each in attendance received a doubloon, which they dropped in a jar to vote for the team they thought topped the competition.

“We worked our tails off!” said Ryan Shepherd, a member of the winning team, Glazed & Infused.

The crawfish boil served to raise funds and awareness for the solar energy industry in Louisiana, with many of the teams having their own connection to the cause.

“This is an important time for the solar industry, especially here in Louisiana,” said President of GSREIA Jeff Cantin.

Cantin said that the solar industry not only creates jobs for installation workers, but also stimulates the economy. One solar energy system can save thirty to fifty thousand dollars in its lifetime compared to traditional energy sources.

“That’s all money that can be put back into the economy, instead of sending it to the energy company,” said Cantin.

Louisiana solar companies have been watching closely this legislative session, as a proposal to cut the solar tax credit is voted on. The current tax credit allows consumers affordable ways to invest in a solar energy system, which would otherwise be unattainable to many.

Forest Wright, a local energy consultant and co-founder of the Louisiana Green Corp said that its more than an economic issue – its about protecting our right to produce our own industry.

According to Wright, the Louisiana Green Corp works to create jobs for solar energy technicians, advocates for the use of solar energy to residents who have a tough time affording their monthly electricity bill, and brings modern technology to everyday life.

“We should be proud of how large the solar energy industry is in Louisiana. Solar energy benefits everyone,” said Wright.

Both Wright and Cantin were on hand to answer any questions that those in attendance had about the solar industry, and why Baton Rouge residents should care about the industry’s progress.

According to Cantin, 87 percent of Louisiana residents have said that they would use solar energy, but if the policies aren’t in place the initial price could keep them from going solar.

“The technology won’t slow down, we just hope the policies can keep up,” he said.

When asked why residents of Baton Rouge, or any city, with such a large population living in apartment complexes should care about the solar industry, Cantin said that it doesn’t matter what your current living situation is.

“Even if you can’t use the technology right now, it will affect your electricity in the future. Traditional energy companies have a monopoly on the energy industry right now,” he said.

Battle of the Boil featured a dunking booth, in which Cantin himself spent a majority of the afternoon, live music from Baton Rouge natives Top Shelf, and a door prizes including a weekend getaway in New Orleans.

Battle of the Boil also featured pieces from local artist Neda Parandian, who transformed paddles normally used to stir the crawfish while in the boiler into colorful trophies for the winning team.

In true Louisiana style, an uncertain future for the solar energy industry was met with food, music, and fun.

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