Brewing up for solar

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, located in Chico, California, has installed a large on-site PV system featuring Mitsubishi modules and Solectria Renewables inverters.

The installation, with a capacity of 1.26 MW, was installed by Chico Electric and uses 6800 Mitsubishi Electric 185 Wp solar modules.

DC Power Systems, Inc, a full-service wholesale distributor of renewable energy products, purchased the inverters from Solectria Renewables for use by Chico Electric.

The power plant, along with an existing 1 MW fuel cell plant, is providing Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s with 8877 MWh annually – 73% of the brewery’s power demand.

The complexity of the factory’s 10 rooftops with multiple azimuths and tilts, made the system design a challenge. Chico Electric chose multiple inverters of different sizes (60kW, 82kW and 95kW) rather than a few large inverters to maximize the amount of power generated from the module strings.

‘Installing a solar electric system was an obvious choice for us, especially when financial incentives saved us 93% of the cost,’ said Ken Grossman, a spokesman for the Sierra Nevada Brewery.

The entire PV system is expected to pay for itself in less than seven years and by taking advantage of federal tax credits, California rebates from the California Solar Initiative, and accelerated depreciation, Sierra Nevada Brewery was able to reduce the total system cost by 93%.

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