New Belgium Brewing adds 50% more onsite solar capacity

Tye's Eye PhotographyNew Belgium Brewing Co. is once again partnering with Boulder-based Namasté Solar to add an additional 96.525 kW of photovoltaic solar paneling at its Fort Collins facility. The new system will be in addition to 870 panels New Belgium installed in 2009 and will bring total onsite solar production to 4.5 percent of the brewery’s total electrical need. Coupled with New Belgium’s onsite Process Water Treatment Plant (which produces methane that is harvested to fire a co-gen engine creating around 15 percent of New Belgium’s electricity), the brewery will soon be able to produce 19.5 percent of its total electricity through renewable energy on site.

The $250,000 installation will reside next to the original solar system atop the brewery’s bottling and canning facility. New Belgium is paying for the system through funds raised through an Internal Energy Tax the brewery created two years ago to develop more onsite power generation.

“This is an exciting moment as we approach that 20 percent threshold,” said New Belgium’s Assistant Director of Sustainability, Katie Wallace. “We have worked hard to bring more on-site energy production into our portfolio, and working with Namasté has been especially rewarding as we are both B Corporations and 100 percent employee-owned ESOPs.”

New Belgium and Namasté Solar worked together on the 200kW system commissioned in 2009 and were featured together in the documentary film “We the Owners” about employee ownership. Namasté has been designing and installing solar PV systems for both commercial and residential projects since 2005.

“Working with New Belgium Brewing has once again been a very rewarding experience. The staff has been extremely supportive since the beginning of this solar project, making the installation process seamless. We’re equally proud to be working with a company that operates under many of the same core values as Namasté Solar, and is also a fellow certified B-Corporation. The similarities our companies share make this solar project even more fulfilling for the Namasté Solar team,” said Nick Williamson, commercial project manager at Namasté Solar.

Site work begins mid-December and is scheduled to wrap up in late January 2015.

— Solar Builder magazine

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