Sustainable development has always been a core value of Stone Brewing’s business philosophy; from the all-natural ingredients in its acclaimed beers to the onsite Bistro’s emphasis on local, organically produced food, use of reclaimed building materials and environmentally friendly beer garden. In keeping with this theme, the company installed a 312kW Photovoltaic Solar System on the roof of its brewing facility in the Escondido Research & Technology Center (ERTC).
Stone’s 312kW system consists of 1,561 roof-mounted solar modules, placing it in the top 12% of the solar energy systems in California in terms of size as of July 2008. The Sanyo HIT (Heterojunction with Intrinsic Thin Layer) technology is some of the most efficient and advanced solar technology commercially available today. Although a solar power installation was not included in the building’s initial construction, both the brewery’s ownership and the developer and builder of the facility, JRMC Real Estate owner James McCann, had the foresight to spend additional money upfront to upgrade the load-bearing structure of the entire roof, thus enabling the future installation of a solar power system. Additionally, solar carports are planned for a portion of the brewery and restaurant’s parking area, further maximizing the solar collecting ability of the property.
Stone Brewing Co.’s solar power installation will supply up to 43% of the brewery’s energy needs annually. Over its lifetime, the system will save Stone more than $3 million in electricity costs and it is expected to pay for itself in just five years. Bank of America Leasing structured a 10 year lease purchase that maximized the available federal solar investment tax credits, utility incentive payments and the reduction in electricity bills to provide the $2.5 million in financing for the project as part of its $20 billion environmental initiative.