Sustainability isn’t just an idea for Birdsong Brewing, it’s a mission.
And one that will pick up considerable power later this summer: Birdsong Brewing will add solar panels to the brewery roof in August. The solar array will generate 50 percent of the energy the brewery requires to operate.
“Birdsong has put a real effort into improving our sustainability measures, especially in the last year,” says Chris Goulet, principal owner of Birdsong. “We’ve significantly reduced our water consumption, cut our bulk carbon dioxide use in half and are now composting most of our spent yeast and hops. Solar is one of the biggest opportunities to reduce our environmental impact, so it made perfect sense.”
In August, Renewable Energy Design Group of Lewisville, North Carolina, will install a custom 75 kilowatt array for the roof of the brewery. The panels will be mounted on custom frames and wired directly into the building’s power supply.
Birdsong consumes about 25,000 kilowatt hours of energy per month, which is equivalent to what it takes to power 30 homes. The panels installed by Renewable Energy Design Group will produce 10,000-12,000 kilowatts hours per month.
With this move into renewable energy—thought to be the first of its kind by a Charlotte brewery—Birdsong will be among a handful of breweries in the state to invest in solar power. Early brewery adopters of solar include Highland Brewing, New Belgium and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
The move to solar is an investment, to be sure. Birdsong’s array carries a price tag of more than $110,000, adjusted to reflect a 30 percent federal tax credit and reduced property taxes. The system is forecasted to produce roughly $315,000 worth of electricity over 25 years, Goulet says.
“In theory, the first full day that the panels are installed and wired, they will produce about half of our electricity,” Goulet says. “Unless it’s cloudy, then it will be day two.”
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