Solar Power Across the World’s Breweries

A little while ago, I posted the results of solar power across the US craft breweries. In that competition, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company emerged as the eventual winner. The contest is sort of limited in that it is craft beer in the US, so I took a little larger swath and made it a global competition among all the breweries. In this competition, sponsored by Tom van der Linden of Solarplaza, he took a look at all breweries across the world to determine a global champion. The results of the competition are listed here.

A couple of interesting results became apparent when we broadened the view. First, Heineken in The Netherlands won the overall competition. Second, Sierra Nevada came in fourth, behind another Heineken plant and a MillerCoors facility in Irwindale, CA (and yes, lots of sunshine in Irwindale). Third, is a plant in Namibia (Namibia Brewing) that again gets lots of sunshine and plenty of heat.

Solar systems are being implemented as whole electrical systems to the plants themselves. In 2016, 16 solar powered brewing facilities came online and 10 have already been built for 2019. With solar cells and batteries, these plants have more sophisticated electrical system which can be added onto while keeps their costs reduced in comparison with coal, oil and natural gas systems. For brewers (and distillers and vinters) who are in the business for a long time, this make good economic sense and a long term gain over brewers who are subject to the utilities. They control one of the major energy inputs to their businesses.