Missouri Brewery Invests in Solar Power
East Forty Brewing Co. is located at 1201 W. Main St. in Blue Springs
By: James Dornbrook
East Forty Brewing Co. installed 100 solar panels on its roof, which can generate enough electricity to cover about 60 percent of its annual electricity use.
The system generates 33 kW of power and was installed by Grandview-based Artisun Solar, a turnkey solar system installation company that was founded in 2011 by Kirk Kreisel.
East Forty received a 30 percent federal investment tax credit and a $0.50 per watt rebate from Kansas City Power and Light Co. that is available for projects installed between January and July of this year.
Solar is an easy investment
"Solar is an easy investment to make, just on its economic merits," East Forty founder David Mann said. "We expect a payback period of less than three years on a project with an expected lifespan of 25 to 30 years or longer."
East Forty opened for business in June at 1201 W. Main St. in Blue Springs, becoming the first and only brewery in the city. Its tap room, which also serves pizza, appetizers and snacks, is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday.
Mann said he would love to continue adding onto the solar array until it can provide 100 percent of the power necessary to run the business, but he's currently limited by city code. Blue Springs requires solar panels to be completely hidden from view.
"This has hindered our ability to fully maximize our roof space and unfortunately stifles the adoption of solar energy in the city," Mann said. "Luckily, we were able to fit a sizable array of 100 panels without building a costly and unsightly parapet wall. But getting to our goal of generating all of our electricity usage is going to be nearly impossible under the current policy."
Mann said he hopes to work with the city to create a friendlier environment for renewable energy.
Why solar works for craft brewers
Craft breweries have shown an increasing willingness to jump into renewable energy. Not only is there a concern about the effect of climate change on hops and grain crops, it also takes a lot of power to boil water for brewing beer everyday and that cuts into profits.
Solar energy has been a particular favorite of craft brewers, since rooftop panels not only generate electricity, they also absorb thermal heat. That leads to using less energy to cool the building to achieve optimal fermentation temperatures.
East Forty is not the first brewery in the Kansas City area to consider solar energy. In 2011, Boulevard Brewing Co. installed a solar array on the roof of its brew house that generates enough energy to power the equivalent of three homes for a year.
Thinking about going solar?
If you’re thinking of going solar, do it in 2019 because the 30 percent federal investment tax credit will start decreasing in 2020. Fafco Solar is the leader in residential solar companies in Southwest Florida, and we make going solar simple and easy. Give us a call today at 239-574-1500 or contact us.