A bottle of liquid sunshine: California craft brewery installs 2.1-MW solar array

Sunshine and Beer

Duke Energy and Firestone Walker Brewing Company have completed a 2.1-megawatt (MW) solar array and 281-kilowatt (kW) solar carport on 9.7 acres in Paso Robles, Calif. The arrays will generate the majority of the brewery’s energy, which is enough to brew and bottle 6 million cases of beer annually.

The on-site solar, single-axis trackers and carports were made possible by two Duke Energy subsidiaries. REC Solar designed and built the solar project, and Duke Energy Renewables provided Firestone Walker financing through a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

The solar array, which is located adjacent to the brewery, features ground-mounted single-axis trackers and is projected to generate 4,055 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity in its first year. The second 281-kW array consists of a solar carport spanning 14,000 square feet just south of the brewery, increasing the brewery’s total solar production to 4,570 MWh of electricity generated in its first year. The solar installation is enough to offset 3,231 metric tons of carbon emissions, according to the companies.

Project planning began in late 2016, with ground-breaking in April 2020. In addition to the solar arrays, the project includes utility substation upgrades that will make it easier for other local organizations seeking to go solar to tap into the power of renewable energy.

“REC Solar and Duke Energy Renewables have been solid partners throughout this process. They helped us unlock our vision for ‘beer brewed with sunshine,’ and methodically executed the complex entitlements, engineering and installation of the array. It was as painless a process as we could have hoped,” said David Walker, co-owner of Firestone Walker Brewing Company.

“Now more than ever, companies are powering their businesses using renewable energy to ensure sustainability and reduce carbon emissions,” added Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Renewables.

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