American Beer Brought To You By Solar Energy

solar powered brewery

Solar energy can help drastically reduce the energy costs associated with making beer.

Americans love beer so much; over 50 billion pints are consumed annually.  And now there’s a whole new reason for breweries to win favor.  Many breweries are tapping into renewable energy sources, heating water with solar power, and installing solar arrays to help with overall electricity costs.

Central Waters Brewing Company

The first brewery in Wisconsin to use solar power to heat domestic water was Central Waters Brewing Company.  The owners, Paul Graham & Anello Mollica, acknowledge that the process of brewing beer is resource-intensive.  Profuse amounts of water and energy are consumed to produce beer, and using solar power is a great way to reduce the environmental impact.  For example, every day the brewing process at Central Waters uses approximately 1,500 gallons of water which are heated to 165°F.  The water at Central Waters is now pre-heated by the sun to about 140°F, and then it’s heated the rest of the way by a natural gas boiler.

A leading goal of Central Waters Brewing is beer production with sustainable energy sources, and the company is a leader in Wisconsin’s sustainability movement.

Central Waters has also installed a photovoltaic (PV) solar system consisting of about 100 solar panels, which have a combined capacity of 20 kilowatts.  The PV system is helping to reduce the amount of fossil fuels consumed to provide electricity for the brewery.

solar powered american beer

Notice the solar hot water panels placed all along the roof of this brewery to help out with the high water heating costs.

The Milwaukee Brewing Company

The Milwaukee Brewing Company is in the process of installing 28 solar panels which will be used for preheating water that’s used in the brewing process.  This step is part of the company’s commitment to making upgrades in energy efficiency.  It’s expected that the solar installation will reduce energy costs for the brewery by 27 percent.

Barrington Brewery & Restaurant

Barrington Brewery & Restaurant was the East coast’s first brewery to brew beer using a solar energy hot water system.  About 1,000 gallons of hot water are heated daily using the 30-panel solar system.

Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille

Located in New London, New Hampshire, Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille has construction underway for a 126-panel solar energy system, making it New Hampshire’s first solar-powered brewery.

The annual electric bill for the Flying Goose is about $24,000 and rising.  The solar system is expected to lower that cost by 25 percent, and it’s projected to take between five and eight years to see a Return on Investment (ROI), covering the cost of the solar installation.

Odell Brewing Company

Odell Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado, is making several steps toward environmental friendliness.  The brewery has added a 76.8 kilowatt solar array on the roof of a building expansion, and it’s expected that solar power will now provide about 39% of their energy needs. Odell’s also turns off the lights a good portion of the day because of a day lighting system in the warehouse which keeps the area illuminated by natural light whenever it’s daylight.  The company also limits distribution to nine states, as a way of cutting down on the use of fossil fuels.

These are just some of the breweries around the country that are switching to renewable energy.  This news will no doubt make the taste of beer even more satisfying for the energy conscious.

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The Cost-Effectiveness of a Residential Active Solar Heating System

active solar heating

There are many incentives offered in every state that make active solar heating an attractive and cost effective heating method.

An active solar heating system could save you a lot of money on energy costs.  If you do some research into your specific situation, you may find that switching to solar heating is the smartest decision for you.

What is an active solar heating system?  It’s simply a heating system which depends upon the sun’s energy as well as mechanical means, such as pumps, motors, or valves.  Every state in the U.S.A. provides different energy incentives; and in your area, it’s possible that you are eligible for incentives on this type of system.  For example, some homeowners qualify for certain income tax credits when they install active solar heating equipment.  A specific example is that in Wisconsin, the purchase of an active solar energy system for the home may be exempt from general property taxes.

When is Active Solar Heating Most Cost Effective?

It’s most cost effective when a homeowner in a cold climate invests in a good solar heating system that displaces the use of a costly heating fuel such as oil, electricity, or propane.  This is particularly true when you factor in such incentives as income tax deductions or credits, sales tax exemptions, and property tax deductions or exemptions.

The cost of an active solar heating system varies, though a reduction in the cost of solar panels means that it’s far less of an expense than it was just a couple of years ago.  The warranty on a solar system is usually a minimum of ten years, though it’s reasonable to expect that a solar heating system will last for decades.

If you’re looking to get the best value for your solar heating dollars, it’s best to install a hot water system as well as a heating system.  The reason for this is that the solar collector will be able to heat water that’s used in the summertime, rather than being idle when indoor heating is unneeded.

Factors Which Determine the Size of the Solar System

solar system

Our solar installation professionals can help you design the best system for your needs.

Experts in solar installation can guide you in understanding all of the considerations which go into choosing the size of your solar heating system.  Some of the factors are the particular heating needs of your home, the layout of the site, and the design of the system.  Homeowner associations (HOAs) need to be figured into the solar installation decisions of most homeowners; what’s important is to determine what the guidelines of your particular HOA are, to avoid complications which could become costly.  Keep in mind that many people have been successful in challenging HOAs which are overly restrictive regarding solar installations.

Did you know that it’s rare for 100% of a home’s heating needs to be provided by solar, the reason being that it’s too costly?  The most economical active solar heating system designs provide between 40% and 80% of a home’s heating requirements.  It’s rarely cost-effective to install a system which provides less than 40% of the needed heat. Our professional solar energy consultants can help run the numbers for you and figure out the most cost effective solution to your solar energy needs. Any NASS member solar store can help find the perfect balance of solar heating so that you can save money with solar.

The insulation of a home contributes to the level of efficiency of your solar system.  And a home which incorporates techniques employing passive solar heating also need less supplemental heat sources in addition to solar.

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Dip into the Timeless Resource of the Sun

Socrates and Passive Solar

Passive solar works to keep the house warm in the winter by strategically positioning the windows and insulation in the home.

The fact that the sun is a powerful heat source has been recognized throughout history. Strong early evidence of passive solar systems date as far back as the 5th century; entire cities in Greece were designed to ensure that every home could benefit from the warmth of the sunlight during winter months. Turn back the clock another 800 years to around 425 BC and consider the great philosopher Socrates, who lived in a home heated by the sun.

“Passive Solar” is a method of heating and cooling buildings strictly by way of architectural design. Once electricity was invented, the more clean and natural methods of heating homes seemingly became as outdated as wooden teeth. Perhaps one of the best revivals of all time has been the resuscitation of the use of solar power. Only nowadays, tapping into the sun as a resource has the added benefit of utilizing advanced technology which has gradually become affordable for others besides just the wealthy.

For the majority of Americans, using solar power is like venturing into a futuristic dream of pure air and clean energy. But as the saying goes, the future is now. Becoming a bona fide part of the solar movement can be as simple and affordable as using a solar hot water system. Taking that first step is much easier when you understand exactly what you’re getting into. The following basic questions and answers can help.

What is a solar hot water system? It is a system which uses the sun to heat water by way of a collector, a heat transfer circuit, and a storage system for the hot water. A solar hot water system may be a single unit or 3 separate components.

solar hot water

The solar hot water system is simple but very beneficial. Homeowners with an installed solar hot water system can see up to 30 percent savings in their heating bill.

Is a solar hot water system cost effective? Yes! In as few as three years or in ten years at most (depending on several variables), your solar water heater pays for itself. A simple passive solar hot water system, considering its life span, is one of the most inexpensive kinds of hot water systems available. And if you should ever sell your home, research proves that for every $1 you saved on your utility bill because of your solar hot water system, your home value increases from $11 to $25. This is a significant amount because heating water accounts for 30% of your energy bill.

Does using a solar hot water system really make a difference, environmentally? Yes! You reduce environmental problems because significantly fewer fossil fuels are burned. Not only that, but your purchase of a solar hot water system helps to create local jobs in the solar industry; this encourages more people to switch to solar power.

What are some other benefits provided by a solar hot water system?
• Your home is more marketable; solar-powered homes are typically the first to be snatched up on the real estate market.
Tax credits and exemptions for the purchase of the system are likely available from Federal, state, and local government agencies.
• You can soak in a luxuriously hot tub of water, enjoying the fact that it has been heated naturally, doing no harm to the environment.

As mentioned before, now is the perfect time to begin using solar power. Whether you choose to purchase a solar hot water or solar electric system, the monetary and environmental benefits make solar power far surpass power from the electric company. See the benefits for yourself with a solar system today!

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Top Four Reasons to Use Solar Hot Water

Solar Hot Water is the Fastest Growing Segment of Solar Energy

By NASS Member / Friends of the Sun, Manchester, VT


Whether you live in Scranton, PennsylvaniaSpringdale, Arkansas – or anywhere else across North America, taking small steps to go green makes sense for you and for the planet. With every step of progress, the world gets healthier. Every environmentally friendly action counts. One not-so-small step toward living eco-friendly is to install a Solar Hot Water system in your home. Hot water usage usually accounts for the biggest portion of a family’s electric energy use.


Here are 4 great reasons to heat up the water in your home with solar energy and take other steps toward environmental friendliness:

#1 – Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

Using solar energy in your home means that you are minimizing the size of your personal carbon footprint. There are plenty of reasons to want to use renewable energy such as solar panels for hot water, such as:

Renewable energy is 100% clean and it makes no negative impact on the earth

Burning fossil fuels pumps greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, by billions of tons

Using organic products reduces the amount of toxic materials which end up in landfills

#2 – Save Money on Energy Costs

Hot water needed for showering, laundry, dishwashing, cooking and other household needs amounts to between 15 and 30 percent of the average family’s energy requirements. Making “green” improvements on your home can bring your electricity bills down by as much as 15 or 30%. This can represent an average savings of $2,000 per year and money than you could use for your children’s college fund, a nice vacation, or your retirement account. Solar Hot Water systems have a very quick pay-back life, so you’re solar system will pay for itself with just a few years savings through decreased utility bills. After that you will enjoy many years of lower utility bills. You may even like solar so much that you opt for a Solar PV System to generate Solar Electricity next and save even more!

#3 – Sell Your Home More Quickly

Home buyers these days are looking for environmentally friendly homes. More and more people are aware of the importance of being sensible about the planet’s resources. There is also a growing appreciation for solar energy which helps to lower utility bills and contribute to cleaner air. There is no doubt about it that you can give your home’s buyer appeal a big boost if you install a solar water heating system. For additional edge with home buyers, get a water-saving showerhead and toilet.

According to the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, solar homes sell two times as quickly as homes without solar panels. Reportedly, this statistic is true even in a slow market. You may not have any plans to move right now, but a sudden out-of-town career advancement opportunity could make the eco-friendly alterations to your home some of the best decisions you ever made!

#4 – Improve Your Homes (and Your) Net Worth

solar hot water heaterWhen you add solar panels to your home, you significantly increase the amount of money a buyer is willing to pay for your home. According to data from the Appraisal Journal, for each $1 you spend on environmentally friendly home improvements which will reduce annual energy bills, the value of your home increases by $10 to $25. Another study found that a solar system increases a home’s value by about $17,000, on average, compared to a home without solar panels. Solar improvements are among the top return-of-value home improvements available today.

If you are like most homeowners, your home is your largest asset. Taking small steps to go green increases your financial value. A solar-powered hot water heater, improved insulation and weather-stripping, low-flow toilets, and dual-paned windows are all investments which boost your home’s value.

All NASS (North American Solar Store) members are trained and educated in Solar Thermal (Solar Hot Water) systems and are there to help you when you are ready to consider “going solar.” Visit our Solar Store Location page and find a store near you. Every NASS member has a brick and mortar store where you can sit down in their showroom and discuss your needs in a comfortable enviroment.

US Locations – Springdale, AR 72762 l Wilton, CT – 06897 l Dover, DE – 19904 l Dubuque, IA – 52002 l Wauconda, IL – 60084 l Warsaw, IN 46580 l Erlanger, KY 41018 l Barre, MA – 01005 l Duluth, MN – 55803 l Hamilton, NJ 08619 l Bohemia, NY 11716 l Plattsburgh, NY 12901 l Canton, OH – 44720 l Eugene, OR 97402 l Kingsley, PA – 18826 l Manchester, VT – 05255 l White River Junction, VT – 05001 l Baraboo, WI – 53913 l Burlington, WI – 53105 Highland, WI – 53543 l Madison, WI – 53711
Canada Locations – Thunder Bay, ON P7E5Z7 l Kingston, ON K7K6Z1 l Prince George, BC V2L 3C1

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