I’m frequently asked about those nifty solar panels that dot the roof-top of Mother Earth Brewing. Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I figured I’d chat with you about this technology, and what it means to us. Mother Earth Brewing was shaped with two guiding convictions: Brew outstanding beer in our hometown and use as many green technologies as possible while doing so. A major player in our effort to minimize our environmental impact is renewable energy generation a-la our celebrated solar panels.
Our solar panels play a critical role in our integrated technologies strategy which aims to increase our energy efficiency and reduce our environmental impact. Here’s a few of the other environmentally friendly products and procedures we’ve successfully incorporated into our brewery: Blue jean insulation, low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, eco carpet partially made from renewable resources, eco flush valves on toilets and a state-of the-art tankless water heater to name just a few! And rather than send spent grain used in the brewing process off to the landfill, it is given to local farmers as top quality feed for their animals. As you can see, solar panels fit right in to our overall concept.
So here’s the low-down on how they came about. Back in the fall of 2009, we met with energy guru, Armistead Muack, VP of Cherry Energy to brainstorm a way of providing energy for our brewery while limiting the harsh impact of massive pounds of CO2. It was just a short while later we purchased a 1 kilowatt (KW) system (1 KW being equivalent to 1000 watts.) November 2009 marked its first full month of use. And not long after, we expanded to a 3 KW system.
Sure, the solar panel installation marked an intelligent fiscal strategy, but more importantly it stood like a billboard shouting Mother Earth Brewing’s message: community and environment guide our everyday decisions and practices. Additionally, we hope that the technologies we’ve implemented help serve as an inspiration to other small businesses in our region, to the members of our community, and to those who enjoy our beer across the state. Simply put, it’s all about sending a message… and I hope that our message is coming through loud and clear.
So the next time you drive by Mother Earth Brewing, or stop in for a stay at the Taproom’s beer garden I hope you’ll look to our roof with a whole new level of respect and share some of these remarkable tidbits with your buddies:
- In February of 2011, we again expanded our solar panel system- this time increasing to an amazing 4.7KW system (with the ability to expand to a 6KW system.) As a point of reference, to run the average home requires about 5KW.
- The solar panels produce DC wattage, which is converted to AC power and then sent to Mother Earth Brewing’s panel box- thus slowing the electric meter. –This is how they help lower our electric bill, as well as our carbon footprint.
- The public can check out Mother Earth Brewing’s solar Plant Profile through Sunny Portal 24/7! This is pretty neat stuff.
- Mother Earth Brewing’s Taproom is run entirely off solar power generated on the roof-top.
- To date, Mother Earth Brewing’s solar panel system has saved over 9,000 pounds of CO2 from being produced. A medium sized car with fuel efficiency of 21 mpg, travelling 600 miles a month will generate 3.9 tons (nearly 8,000 pounds) of CO2 annually.
So while you’re enjoying your Saint Patrick’s Day Mother Earth brew, toast one to the roof-top! And thanks to you always for your support.
Peace, Love, and Beer………Trent