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Arbor Brewing’s Solar Panels to Offset Gas Use up to 50%

The Arbor Brewing Co. has made nearly $345,000 worth of energy efficiency improvements and solar system installations that will generate electricity and hot water, making the company the first solar-powered brewery in Michigan.

The firm made the improvements at locations in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan, AnnArbor.com reported, based on an energy and water audit from the Green Brewery Project, a non-profit consulting organization that originated from research at the University of Michigan.

Arbor’s Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti is making about $250,000 of improvements. The solar system, which will be competed by the end of July, will provide almost all of the Corner Brewery’s hot water needs and up to 15 percent of its electricity, AnnArbor.com reported.

The improvements at the Arbor Brewing Co. location include a solar PV array, 300 solar thermal collector tubes and a high efficiency tankless water heater system. Construction on the system, which is expected to offset gas use by up to 50 percent and generate between 15 percent and 20 percent of the building’s electricity, was completed this month.

Other craft breweries have made energy efficiency improvements in recent years. In May, the Matt Brewing Company, the business behind Saranac brand beers, installed a steam pressure management system that has reduced steam use by about a third, while saving water and cutting costs.

New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Co., is tied to the city’s smart grid, which allows it to pump power generated from its 200-kilowatt solar array or natural gas-powered engine back into the grid.

SABMiller, a brewing company with more than 200 beer brands including Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch, reduced its water consumption and carbon emissions per hectoliter of lager produced by 5 percent and 10 percent in the past fiscal year, compared to 2011 levels, according to the company’s 2012 sustainability report.

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