Anderson Valley Brewing Co. of Boonville, California announced today the completion of an almost one million dollar project to generate their own solar power to brew beer. A final inspection was successfully completed today by PG&E and their new state-of-the-art photovoltaic system went on-line immediately thereafter.
“We‚ve got solar powered beer going on here,” said Peter Suddeth, longtime brewery employee (and press release author). “You can drink it and feel good that you’re helping to preserve the environment.”
From the press release:
The $860,000 project includes two arrays; a 175 ft. by 53 ft. array on the south facing roof of the brewery’s cellar and packaging facility, and a separate 120 ft. by 24 ft. ground-based freestanding array. The 125 kWh system is the largest privately owned PV system north of the San Francisco Bay Area, and among the largest in the western hemisphere. The brewers hope that the system will produce as much as 40% of their annual electrical needs.
The project underscores the brewery’s longstanding commitment to keeping its environmental impact as low as possible. “We feel an obligation, specifically to this pristine valley in which we’re located, but to the rest of the world as well, to be responsible with resources. We recycle as much of our waste as we can; paper, plastic, glass, cardboard. We have our own waste water reclamation system, and now we can greatly reduce our reliance on outside electricity,” said brewery president, Kenneth Allen “Solar is the future. We’re proud to be getting a jump on it,” Allen continued, citing statistics showing that almost 75% of the electricity used in California is generated with nonrenewable resources such as coal, natural gas, and uranium. Solar energy is currently California’s most abundant source of electricity, and yet, at under three tenths of a percent, it is the most under utilized. (Source: 2004 Net System Power Calculation Report, Energy Commission Publication # 300-04-001R)
The installation of the first 391 solar panels of the large array (592 panels; 175 ft. by 53 ft.) on the roof of the brewery’s cellar and packaging facility back in June of 2005. [photo by Peter Suddeth, AVBC]
From left: Pete Gregson, of Advance Solar in Calpella, California, and Rod DeWitt, Director of Plant Engineering & Process Control at Anderson Valley Brewing, discuss the completed smaller array (176 panels, 120 ft. by 24 ft.). The Roof of the Brewhouse, and about half of the large array can be seen behind. [photo by Peter Suddeth, AVBC]