Sierra Nevada Commissions Solar Array

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On September 16, 2007 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.—one of the innovators of the craft brewing renaissance since its founding in 1980—commissioned the first phase of what will be one of the country’s largest private solar installations. This commissioning comes on the heels of the installation of four 250-kilowatt co-generation fuel cell power units, also one of the largest fuel cell installations in the United States.

“With the addition of our solar panels, we are approaching our goal of providing 100% of our energy needs with clean on-site alternative energy generation,” said brewery founder and CEO Ken Grossman.

When completed in 2008, the solar project will produce over 1.4 MW of AC power for the brewery. This—coupled with its existing 1 MW fuel cell plant—will provide for the majority of the brewery’s electrical energy needs with clean power produced on-site. Surplus electrical energy will be available to help supply the overloaded California power grid during peak power usage periods.

The already completed 442-kW elevated tracking array generates a significant amount of electricity to power brewery operations, as well as providing the added benefit of shaded parking for brewery and restaurant visitors as well as employees. Over 2000 Sunpower 220-watt high-efficiency panels were installed utilizing an intelligent tracking system that aims the array toward the sun throughout the day, increasing the output almost 30% over a fixed panel installation. This system should provide a total 892,859 per year of kilowatt hour (kWh) power output.

The next phase of installation is currently underway. Covering a majority of the brewing facility’s roofs, this system will utilize over 6700 Mitsubishi 185-watt lead-free panels. This installation will produce an additional 1 MW of AC power, and should be completed by early 2009.

Via: (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.—)

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