Bear Republic inaugurates its solar beer operations


The 30.2 kW rooftop installation over the brewery will soon be complemented with a 136.6 kW canopy, including Solar World modules, Enphase microinverters, IronRidge racking, Erico mounts and Eaton electrical gear. The installation was performed by North State Solar Energy, based in Forest Ranch, CA. North State routinely recommends U.S.-made components to its clients.

The brewery held a ribbon cutting for the installation on August 28th, with the presence of local officials, and supplier executives, including Enphase’s CEO Paul Nahi, IronRidge’s CTO Craig Carni, Solar World’s Regional Account Manager Franz Feuerherdt, and North State Solar President Mike Houar; beer was provided.

The installation is the first in the United States using Enphase’s newly produced American Made line, which is distinguished by being assembled in Milpitas, CA., with enough U.S. parts and labor to meet federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (AARA) requirements for domestic content of 51 percent, with associated cost premiums ranging from six percent to 25 percent over imported products.

“The CEO of our company says while we want to do the right thing, it doesn’t say ‘Bear Republic, not-for-profit’ on our charter. The economics are finally there, says Master Brewer Peter Kruger, who is a member of the sustainability subcommittee of the national Brewers Association, based in Boulder, Colorado.

Apart from its solar initiative, Bear Republic has drilled its own water wells in water-scarce Cloverdale, so that it now supplies 99 percent of its total water use, says Norgrove. “We used to be careless with water, especially during cleaning, but that doesn’t happen any more,” says Kruger.

Bear Republic is also involved in food sustainability in the community, having partnered with partner with the Redwood Empire Food Bank of Sonoma County to contribute to the food bank’s Range to Table donation program. The program provides beef for low-income families, senior citizens and others “who would go hungry if not for the food provided,” the brewery states. Bear Republic is donating brewer’s grain to be supplied as feed to Oak Ridge Angus Ranch in Calistoga, CA, which has volunteered to humanely raise calves on open range land.

The brewery is noted for having won the Small Brewing Company and Brew master of the Year from the Great American Beer Festival, in 2006. The company also has won 19 medals from the Great American Beer Festival and various medals from the World Beer Cup, Good Food Awards, and the California State Fair.

Within the scope of its corporate social responsibility program (CSR), Bear Republic also supports organizations including Rotary, Boys & Girls Club, Kiwanis, Active 20-30 Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, PTA, Special Education, the Little League, and other small groups locally.