Solar power is brewing at Sierra Nevada

Hops, malt, yeast and barley are ingredients that fuel a beer drinker’s passion. But what helps fuel the making of this sudsy libation?

At Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., the sun will soon help provide energy for much of the East 20th Street facility. The company broke ground earlier this month on a solar array that is expected to go online in September.

The project is the latest addition to the company’s eco-friendly brewing processes, and when completed will allow the facility to be less dependent on PG&E.

“Once the solar panels are finished we will be about 80 percent self-sufficient at peak hours and 100 percent on off-peak hours,” said Cheri Chastain, Sierra Nevada’s sustainability coordinator.

The array is being built over the parking lot on the east side of the brewery, and its panels will shift for maximum efficiency. Chastain expects the system to provide 500 kilowatts of power—enough energy to light 5,000 100-watt light bulbs.