North Carolina Brewery

Pull Up to Solar Parking

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Despite the dark days of winter, solar energy is atop our minds at the Mills River brewery. Recently, we finished the installation of our parking lot solar array, which will help offset the energy requirements of running the brewery.

This parking lot array is made up of nine units—umbrella-like canopies each with 22 individual panels— that will generate 60 kilowatts of DC power. These panels, when combined with the much larger rooftop array, will generate a total of 710 kilowatts, or enough power to simultaneously switch on more than 11,800 60-watt light bulbs.

With the help of local Asheville installer Sundance Power, we designed these panels to maximize overhead space in the parking area that otherwise goes unused. This is a model we’re familiar with. In Chico, our main visitor parking lot is blanketed with tracking solar panels that generate 503 Kilowatts of DC power in addition to providing much-needed shade in the blisteringly hot summer months. (See how much power they’re producing in real-time.)

While the Mills River installation is smaller than the Chico array, the panels are clearly visible to folks visiting our brewery and will hopefully inspire thoughts about what it takes to make the food and beverages we enjoy. The winter days may be short, but before long spring will be here, and with it, the bright sun to help us make fresh North Carolina-brewed beer.