The 200 kW system will produce 16 percent of New Belgium’s peak electrical load and 3 percent of their total electrical energy use. The array is part of the brewer’s commitment to Fort Collins’ FortZED initiative, a public/private partnership that aims to create the world’s largest “active zero energy district” through Smart Grid and renewable energy technology.
Boulder-based Namaste Solar was contracted for the integration, which began in late August. The New Belgium packaging hall now holds 870 panels, and engineers estimate it can power the bottle line for up to eight hours on a sunny day.
New Belgium, along with several other Fort Collins entities—such as the City of Fort Collins, Colorado State University, Spirae, Inc., Brendle Group, Advanced Energy, and Woodward—responded to a request from the Department of Energy to demonstrate peak load reduction. The partners were one of nine groups nationwide to receive such a grant.
“We feel very fortunate to participate in this ambitious local effort. By leveraging the contributions from our partners and the Department of Energy along with our own investments, we’ll reduce our peak electrical load by over two-thirds,” said New Belgium Sustainability Director Jennifer Orgolini. “This solar PV installation is an integral part of the portfolio because we lower our peak use by lowering our base.”
New Belgium became the country’s first brewery to subscribe to 100 percent wind powered electricity in 1998 and can produce up to 15 percent of its electrical needs by capturing methane from its process water treatment plant to fire a co-generation engine which produces heat and electricity on-site.
About New Belgium Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, began operations in a tiny Fort Collins basement in 1991. Today, the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., New Belgium produces seven year-round beers; Fat Tire Amber Ale, Sunshine Wheat, Blue Paddle Pilsner, 1554 Black Ale, Abbey, Mothership Wit and Trippel, as well as a host of seasonal releases. In addition to producing world-class beers, New Belgium takes pride in being a responsible corporate role model with progressive programs such as employee ownership, open book management and a commitment to environmental stewardship. For more information, visit www.newbelgium.com.