We are pleased to announce that we are the first in Alaska to significantly harness solar power for our brewery operations. Great for our community, great for the environment and great for us too!
We began our new rooftop solar installation project as soon as snow melted off the brewery this April. We energized the array of 60 solar panels in mid-May, and it’s estimated the system will produce up to 110 kilowatt hours of electricity per day, or about one-third of our power per year. Additionally, it will reduce the CO2 produced by combustion by roughly 1.5 tons per month during the summer season.
“We are a community-focused company,” owner and brewer Bobby Wilken said, noting an emphasis on providing a product and service for the people in his hometown while being conscious of the environment. “We look at this solar project as pushing our community forward. We’ll generate a nice chunk of renewable energy that runs our meter backwards and anything extra goes back into the community’s grid.”
The project is the product of a partnership with local solar company, Renewable Energy Systems of Alaska. The company spent most of the winter building out supports, reinforcing the trusses and roof of HooDoo’s 1970’s Alaska Pipeline-era building to support the weight and mechanics of the new solar project.
“They’re 100-percent committed to doing it right,” Wilken said of RES. “They’re great local business people, and they’re doing it right for the right reasons.”
Energy generation will fluctuate seasonally, due to HooDoo’s subarctic location, but will feed into the community grid year-round. Over 3,000 kilowatts have been generated from the project so far, harnessing Fairbanks’ 20+ hours of daily sunlight in June and July. Data is gauged by a real-time, cloud-based monitoring system.
“The people of Fairbanks make our product sustainable and viable, but anything else we can do to push the boundaries is absolutely fantastic,” Wilken continues. “The brewing process is water and energy intensive. The quality of our beer is our first priority, but we’re always looking for ways to make our process more reliable, more efficient and it doesn’t hurt to make our environmental footprint a little smaller.”