Beer Made Better with Solar


Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. installs a 650 kW rooftop solar array on their new Mills River brewery. By using solar, Sierra Nevada will not only save money and reduce CO2 emissions but will also conserve water, a key factor in good beer.

Nearly everyone enjoys a good beer now and again. A key aspect in making that beer taste good is a clean water supply. Knowing that beer is sustainably brewed with solar energy can make it taste even better.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has taken this to heart and is embracing solar at its new Mills River brewery in North Carolina. Sundance Power Systems has installed a 650 kW rooftop array on the brewery. Kyocera Solar modules will help power the brewery, making the beers brewed there possibly the most environmentally friendly adult beverages available  although the wines produced at Jackson Family winery would give them a run for that title.

“Kyocera has been a leader in the solar industry for nearly four decades, and is committed to helping commercial enterprises operate in a sustainable fashion,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar Inc. “We ‘raise our glass’ to Sierra Nevada for utilizing the abundant power of the sun to brew its delicious beers, and stand ready to assist other companies in following these sustainable footsteps.”

With a 1.9 MW system at their Northern California headquarters, Sierra Nevada takes the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” seriously. The 2,030 solar modules atop the new brewery’s packaging center and warehouse further exemplify this philosophy. They will not only save the brewery money and reduce CO2 emissions but will also conserve water, since producing solar power doesn’t use water the way producing electricity from fossil fuels does. And water is a key factor for making good beer.


“Integrating renewable energy into our Mills River facility was an important part of our project design,” said Cheri Chastain, sustainability manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. “Sundance Power Systems designed and installed our 650kW Kyocera solar system, which covers nearly two acres on our roof. We are looking forward to enjoying many years of renewable energy from this system.”


Sierra Nevada will host its first public event for its Mills River brewery on Sunday, August 3, 2014, when the company’s Beer Camp Across America makes its grand finale in North Carolina. With more than 110 regional craft breweries pouring, attendees will sample artisanal varieties while enjoying live music and — like the solar panels on the roof  soaking up the summer sun.