Birdsong Brewing Launches $110K Solar Panel Project

This August, Birdsong Brewing will become the first brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina, to invest in solar paneling for its brewery’s electricity.

Adding solar panels should allow the brewery to generate 50 percent of its power needs, Chris Goulet, owner, told Charlotte Business Journal.

The sunny addition involves installing a custom 75-kilowatt system to the brewery roof, with panels wired directly into the building’s power supply. The solar panel system is projected to produce up to 12,000 kilowatt hours of building power supply per month.

The project’s price tag: $110,000, adjusted for a federal tax credit and reduced property taxes the brewery will now be eligible for. Although the cost is steep up front, Goulet said, it will help reduce annual energy costs (currently clocking in around $30,000 per year), and is expected to generate $315,000 worth of electricity over the next 25 years.

Birdsong Brewery’s solar panel project will be installed by Renewable Energy Design of Lewisville, N.C.

Along with generating green electricity and saving the company thousands of dollars, the project will allow Birdsong to benefit the city of Charlotte, something the brewery has been passionate about doing since opening in 2011.

Goulet told CBJ:

“We want to be a contributing member of the community. Reducing our carbon footprint makes sense [...] It’s not something you absolutely have to have to run a brewery. It’s always been an aspirational goal.”

Birdsong may be the first Charlotte brewery to install solar panels, but it certainly isn’t the first in the state. In Asheville, Highland Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, and Sierra Nevada Brewing have all been using solar energy. In fact, Highland Brewing has been solar since 2015, and claims to have the third largest solar array of any craft brewery in the country. Sierra Nevada has also been a longtime proponent of and model for sustainable brewing practices in the U.S., first on the West Coast and now in its East Coast location. 

The solar panel trend has been resonating throughout the States: in June, two craft breweries, Jester King Brewery in Austin, Texas, and Rock Art Brewery in Morrisville, Vermont also announced solar power programs for their breweries.