New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale, announced today that the largest privately owned solar array in Colorado has gone live.
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.
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.