Duke Energy and Firestone Walker Brewing Co. have completed one of the largest on-site solar arrays in the craft beer industry – a 2.1-megawatt solar array and 281-kilowatt solar carport on 9.7 acres in Paso Robles, Calif. The arrays will generate the majority of the brewery’s energy, which is enough to brew and bottle 6 million cases of beer annually.
“REC Solar and Duke Energy Renewables have been solid partners throughout this process. They helped us unlock our vision for ‘beer brewed with sunshine,’ and methodically executed the complex entitlements, engineering and installation of the array. It was as painless a process as we could have hoped,” said David Walker, co-owner of Firestone Walker Brewing Company.
The on-site solar, single-axis trackers and carports were made possible through the collaboration of two Duke Energy subsidiaries. REC Solar designed and built the solar project, and Duke Energy Renewables provided Firestone Walker financing through a 25-year power purchase agreement.
Site details: The solar array, which is located adjacent to the brewery in Paso Robles, Calif., features ground-mounted single-axis trackers that maximize solar energy production and is projected to generate 4,055 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity in its first year. The second 281-kilowatt array consists of a solar carport spanning 14,000 square feet just south of the brewery, increasing the brewery’s total solar production to 4,570 MWh of electricity generated in its first year. In its entirety, the solar installation is enough to offset 3,231 metric tons of carbon emissions.
Project planning began in late 2016, with groundbreaking in April 2020. In addition to the solar arrays, the project includes utility substation upgrades that will make it easier for other local organizations seeking to go solar to tap into the power of renewable energy.
“We have made a 25-year forward commitment to this project, and we hope that our embrace of solar energy, along with scores of others in our community, will encourage more to do the same,” Walker said.
— Solar Builder magazine