Maine Beer Company in Freeport, Maine, recently installed 212 solar panels to their brewery roof in hopes that they will one day produce 100 percent of the company's electricity. Co-Founder David Kleban has been environmentally minded since the company first opened in 2009 and is a participant of the Plant and Garbage to Garden, as reported in Maine Biz. To offset 100 percent of the electricity Maine Beer uses, Kleban purchases wind credits and even uses recycled toilet paper in the brewery's restrooms.
For this $200,000 solar installation — over half of which was offset by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant and a federal tax credit — Kleban hopes it will pay off in eight to 10 years. The brewery was eligible for the grant due to the USDA's Maine office recently expanding the reach of its Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which offers grants up to 25 percent for the cost of renewable energy systems and energy-efficient projects. This year alone $1.25 million will be made available through these REAP grants.
As the panels are only recently installed, the company has not yet received their first power bill, but still expects there will be more low-production times once once the brewery is generating more power than it is currently using.
"You have to pay for electricity one way or the other," Kleban said. "If anything can pay for itself and do the Earth, people and animals good, then you do it if you can afford to."
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