Solar on Breweries Across the U.S 0


What can solar do for our tastebuds?

Some brewers are posing this question as they offset their energy costs and integrate solar into the meticulous beer making process. Anyone who has tried to home brew knows there is a definite art to brewing, yet more brewers are trusting solar technology to produce thousands of barrels of beer.

Before we highlight who is going solar, let’s discuss how. In general, solar brewers are utilizing to two types of on-site solar technology to produce that well deserved beer in your hand.

Solar PV: You are probably familiar with this type of solar since it sits on local residential buildings. Solar pv turns sunlight directly into electricity. This energy is used by brewers to power their everyday business operations.

Solar Thermal: This type of solar can also be seen on a few neighborhood roofs. Solar thermal technology utilizes the sun to produce hot water. Brewers use this form of solar during the mashing process of beer making. With the temperature of water being critical to forming the taste and quality of a beer batch, solar hot water heaters are a big part of making the brewers beer unique.

Here are a few US craft brewers using one or both of these technology innovations:

Sierra Nevada Brewing (Chico, CA)

  • The most prolific name in the solar beer arena, Sierra Nevada completed construction of over 10,000 panels in their Chico, CA location in 2008

  • Solar provides roughly 20% of their electricity needs to produce around 865,000 barrels of beer a year

  • In 2012, their solar panels produced 2876 kWh of energy which is enough energy to power about 250 US households. Check out their barometer to see how much energy the sun is currently providing their brewery

Lucky Labrador Brewing (Portland, OR)

  • Installed in 2008, their entire system includes 16 solar panels that help produce around 26,000 barrels of beer a year

  • Lucky Lab uses solar thermal technology to keep 900 gallons of water ready to go at 180 degrees

  • You can check out how they use solar heated water to brew here

Anderson Valley Brewing Company (Boonville, CA)

  • Anderson Valley added their pv array in 2006 which currently provides about 40% of the brewery’s electricity needs

  • Their annual beer production sits around 36,000 barrels of beer

  • During hot weather, their solar panels also provide insulation which keeps building temperature down and reduces the load on their refrigeration system by as much as 25%

Central Waters Brewing Company ( Amherst, WI)

  • Central Waters utilizes both solar pv and solar thermal technology to produce roughly 10,000 barrels of beer a year

  • Their solar thermal system is 1,000 square feet and includes 24 panels that help produce hot water for the mashing process in brewing

  • Their 20 kW solar pv array produces roughly 20% of their annual energy needs

Odell Brewing Company (Fort Collins, Colorado)

  • Odell Brewing Company’s 77 kW system has 384 solar pv panels

  • Their Fort Collins brewery produces around 920,000 barrels of beer a year

  • The panels offset approximately 25% of Odell Brewing’s energy needs

Corner Brewery (Ypsilanti, Michigan)

  • An effort between multiple parties – including a team from the local University of Michigan – the Corner Brewery completed the installation of their hybrid solar system in 2012 which provides hot water and electricity

  • Their system is projected to provide all of their hot water needs and up to 15% of their electricity needs

  • A sister brewery to popular Michigan Arbor Brewing Company (ABC), Corner Brewery was part of a recent expansion that allowed ABC to double capacity and sell 3500 barrels of beer in 2012

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Jade Jones is a Mosaic Fellow and part of the Mosaic Blog Leadership Team. She is an electrical engineering grad that swayed to cleantech after joining UCSB’s Engineers Without Borders chapter. Since graduating, she has worked with multiple organizations focused on advancing economic, environmental, and social prosperity.

Original Article on Mosaic

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