By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Energy
Anheuser-Busch is moving to get 10 percent of the power for its Newark brewery from solar power. With the help of Orion Energy and Solyndra, it's saving money, too.
For a brewer of this size, consistency is key. That's why Anheuser is usually on the front lines when it comes to technology.
According to a new MarketWatch report, that strategy continues to pick up steam. The company's nearly 60-year-old, 3.2 million-square-foot brewery in Newark, N.J. is now getting up to 5 percent of its electricity from 3,000 Solyndra-made photovoltaic solar panels on its roof.
The solar array covers 65,000 square feet and has a capacity of 530 kilowatts.
In a deal with Orion Energy Systems, the InBev-owned brewer is already moving to double its solar output to 10 percent of its total mix.
Steve Gelsi reports:
The Newark site's general manager, Kristopher Scholl, said engineers, executives and brewers at the company have had been studying solar power for years before giving a green light to the project.
"It's very important for us to invest in that kind of technology," Scholl said in an interview at the brewery, plainly visible from Newark Liberty International Airport across the highway.
It's just one more example of how going green makes sense and cents for multinational corporations. As energy costs go up and renewable energy sources proliferate (not to mention some pressure from sustainability-minded board members), figuring out better and cheaper ways to operate is the name of the game.
Orion made the capital investment on the solar panels, and operates them for Anheuser. It's a win-win agreement -- Orion gets lots of space to reap energy from the sun, and Anheuser gets a favorable rate to purchase that power.
Better still, the entire deal is lubricated by government incentives -- an up to 30 percent federal tax break on the cost of the installation, in this case -- for solar power.
Sep 14, 2010
I'm in the process of trying to figure out what complete solar power would do for my family. Guess I'll have to involve the development's Home Owners Association as well.
1.5 acres to generate 530 kilowatts....that's not a lot of power really...1.5 acres can accomodate 7 detached family homes, or 15 townhouses.
I don't think this is so much about going green as one company leasing their space to another... Parts of the brewing process require heat, but precise temperature control is far more important. Fabricating hybrid components for mashing, brewing and fermenting heated through conventional means and also from an external variable- temperature hot water supply would be a difficult challenge - and there is no guarantee that the end result would be any more energy efficient than the current state of the art. Brewing beer also requires refrigeration; redesigning the energy supply rather than the entire apparatus probably has the greatest return both in development/deployment costs and also in ongoing incremental cost reduction. Doing so through the described contract with a third party is where they lost me, but I am rarely persuaded that outsourcing makes sense.
Doesn't brewing beer use a lot of hot water? I should have thought so. It is much more efficient to go with solar thermal and get all the hot water you need first, before throwing a lot of money at photovoltaics. This type of thing annoys me, not because its American owned or otherwise, that makes no difference, but because as usual public money is used for the wrong priorities.
I'm not sure I get it. You're upset that A-B is not American-owned, but you're also upset that they continue to produce American beer. If you want them to produce something other than post-Prohibition Pilsner, isn't offshore ownership a positive point?
A-B InBev should not be getting a tax break. That said, I am glad they are joining the many smaller breweries with the move to solar energy solutions. They are a few years late to the party, but at least they decided to show up. @brambeus I agree with your sentiments regarding the poor quality and taste of nearly all of the A-B InBev products.
If this can happen in Newark, what is keeping groups in other parts of the country, particularly in the sunny southwest where I live, from doing something similar? I have added them to my house and save 85%. Why can't all business do this very simple, not too costly way of saving money?
I suppose we should be glad that A-B's Budweiser brewery will be solar-powered. Given the profits A-B makes from Budweiser, however, I'm sorry that the feds don't examine the books of those whom they subsidize (as much as 30%!) for installing solar power. For me, the other flies in the ointment are (1) A-B is no longer an American-owned company and (2) the fact that Budweiser sells as well as it does only indicates how easy it is to satisfy American beer drinkers with an erzatz. I wonder how many of the Budweiser drinkers have tried the microbrews that taste like real beers. If they have and still prefer Budweiser, it only proves there's no accounting for tastes.