Beer maker Anheuser-Busch has just announced the completion of a rooftop solar energy installation at its Newark, NJ brewery that will generate about 525,000 kilowatt hours a year. It’s the second installation for the company, which also uses solar power at its brewery in Fairfield, California. Given the flood of megawatt-scale renewable energy projects coming online, half a million kilowatts from a rooftop may sound like small potatoes but all those rooftops can add up when it comes to a giant of the manufacturing sector.
The Anheuser-Busch installation is significant because it helps set a standard for other global-scale brands. The company has almost half of the U.S. beer market and its global sales of Budweiser and Bud Light are world leaders. With its all-encompassing advertising, the iconic brewer has the potential to take solar energy squarely into the American mainstream.
Renewable Energy and Beer
The Newark solar array was designed and installed by Orion Energy Systems for Anhueser-Busch under a Renewable Energy Certificate agreement with local utility PSE&G, echoing a move into renewable energy by dairy farmers to add value to their operations through the REC system. Anheuser-Busch points out that aside from its solar energy installations, it uses wastewater-to-biogas recovery systems at 10 of its 12 U.S. breweries, which also parallels a biogas recovery movement throughout the dairy industry that the EPA and the USDA are promoting aggressively through the AgStar sustainability program. Biogas provides up to 15% of the energy for the boilers at Anheuser’s Newark Brewery.
Beer and Renewable Energy
Solar energy and biogas recovery are just a couple things that beer has going for it in terms of saving the planet. San Diego microbrewer Karl Strauss has partnered with a couple of renewable energy companies to convert brewery waste yeast to ethanol, and the U.S. military is all over bio-batteries and microbial fuel cells that could run on a variety of feedstocks including beer.
Image: Green beer by (matt) on flickr.com.
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