New Belgium and Odell both now brewing solar-powered suds.
When people think of microbreweries in Colorado known for their sustainable business practices, the first name that comes to mind is usually New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire, one of the best-known craft beers in America. But less than a mile down the road, Odell Brewing Company is not only holding its own in the the eyes of the microbrew-crazy Fort Collins locals, the much smaller brewery is also proving it knows a thing or two about sustainability.
Last week both of the breweries enhanced their sustainability portfolios by switching on new rooftop solar systems.
The two projects together will generate roughly 276 kilowatts at peak operating capacity. Odell's new 11,000 square foot rooftop solar array has a nameplate capacity of 76.8 kilowatts, and is anticipated to produce around 111,400 kilowatt hours annually, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Odell's new solar system will generate an impressive 39 percent of the brewery's overall demand.
Not to be outdone, the much larger New Belgium Brewery also switched on its solar PV system this week. Environmental Leader reports that New Belgium's solar array, an 870-panel, 200-kilowatt solar PV system is bolstered by a 200-kilowatt diesel/natural gas engine that only fires when the city of Fort Collins signals that power demand is peaking.
New Belgium became the country’s first brewery to subscribe to 100 percent wind powered electricity in 1998 and can produce up to 15 percent of its electrical needs by capturing methane from its process water treatment plant to fire a co-generation engine which produces heat and electricity on-site.
The array--the largest privately-owned solar array in Colorado--will produce 16 percent of New Belgium’s peak electrical load and 3 percent of its total electrical energy use, giving a whole new meaning to the name of one of their popular beers, 'Sunshine Wheat.'
Knowing first-hand the voracious appetite Coloradoans have for quality small-batch beer and sustainability, the additions will not only generate electricity on-site, they will likely generate more buzz, more visitors to their respective tasting rooms and, quite likely, more revenue.