The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, located in Chico, Calif., has one of the largest privately-owned solar installations in the nation. The system consists of two layouts -- a carport array and a roof top array.
The carport array includes 2,288 Sunpower photovoltaic panels, each with a 225-watt capacity, and a total potential electricity output of 503 kW DC. The system is 30 percent more efficient than a stationary system because asingle axis sun tracking system allows the panels to follow the sun throughout the day.
The roof top array (shown above) includes 7,688 Mitsubishi 185-watt photovoltaic panels, and is capable of providing an additional 1.42 Megawatts of DC electricity to the facility.
Solar panels have also been installed on the brewery's onsite daycare facility -- 28 panels with a 5.18 kW DC capacity provided 100 percent of the center’s electricity in 2010.
All of Sierra Nevada’s solar systems are capable of producing 1.94 Megawatts DC and include more than 10,000 individual photovoltaic panels. The brewery's website includes an on-site power generation dashboard that's updated every 15 minutes to show real-time energy generation. Currently the brewery generates more than 40 percent of its own energy.
Photo by Jessica Mulholland