Beer Goes Green With Solar Power
Solar-powered breweries are giving bar patrons and consumers one more reason to enjoy a tasty brew—the feeling they’re saving the planet, one sip at a time. Abita Brewing Company, just north of New Orleans, has announced the completion of its 85 KW solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof of its main warehouse.
The brewery’s 340 solar panels installed by South Coast Solar are expected to offset 2,737,202 kilowatt hours of electrical usage, making it one of the largest commercial solar systems in the state of Louisiana, reports the Beer Street Journal. Abita Brewing Company’s new solar array is expected to offset 2,054 tons of carbon — the equivalent of planting 10,264 trees.
While solar-powered beer is not a new concept, it’s one that is spreading quickly through the U.S.
In the fall of 2007, Barrington Brewery of Massachusetts claimed to be first brewery on the East coast to use a solar energy hot water system to brew their beer. Barrington Brewery utilizes 30 solar panels to produce 1,000 gallons of hot water each day to be used in the brewery and restaurant, according to the company.
Earlier this year, Milwaukee Brewing Company installed a solar hot water system at its facility to reduce the brewery’s energy cost and highlight the company’s commitment to sustainability. Owner Jim McCabe utilizes 28 solar hot water panels to collect energy from the sun to heat the water used in the brewing process—a move that should reduce energy costs by 27 percent. The sign hanging outside the 2nd Street brewery reads Milwaukee’s 1st Solar Brewery. “It’s great to be the first. Hopefully, we’re definitely not the last,” McCabe said. “This is not something that makes the beer taste any better—our talented brewers do all that. This is something that definitely sets us up for a long future in trying to do things responsibly.”
In California, the Anderson Valley Brewing Company has installed two solar photovoltaic arrays that generate 125 kilowatt hours of energy—making it the largest privately-owned PV system in the U.S. north of the Bay area. The $860,000 solar project should generate about 40 percent of the brewery’s annual energy needs. The solar-powered beer has been a big hit with customers and employees alike, as a brewery employee tells Treehugger: “You can drink it and feel good that you’re helping to preserve the environment.”
Speaking of other ways to make beer greener, earlier we reported that a group of scientists from the Technical University of Munich (Germany) have developed a new non-stop fermentation process that takes place in stages over a number of interconnected tanks. The tank system can be operated continuously over a period of several months, which leads to an energy reduction. The new method also promises significant resource efficiency gains.
Updated: Here is a video of solar panels being installed at Abita Brewing Company. The information was provided courtesy of South Coast Solar.