Harnessing the sun to brew tasty beer
5:30am Wednesday 14th May 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
SWINDON brewery Arkell’s is set to take steps to reduce its carbon footprint and cut costs following a recent boost in the sales of its lager.
The company submitted an application to install solar panels on the roof of the historic bottling hall. The plan is now under consideration.
If the scheme is given the go-ahead by the council then around 37kw of power will be produced, which will not only reduce the external power required, but also lower Arkell’s energy bills.
The brewery’s energy consumption has risen over the last six months as sales of its 1843 lager have taken off. Lager requires a month of cooling before it’s ready to drink whereas real ale needs just five days.
As such the coolers at the brewery have been working around the clock, which has meant an extra cost to the brewery and also a potential cost to the environment.
Arkell’s is seeking outline planning permission for up to 100 all-black panels on the bottling hall, none of which will be easily visible from the road as the hall lies in the middle of the brewery’s site.
“We have three massive cooling systems to keep our beer and lager cold, all using significant amounts of energy,” said head brewer Alex Arkell.
“Over the last few years we have been working to reduce our carbon footprint, first through buying ingredients more locally where we can and now we’re hoping to harness the sunshine to help in the production of our beer and lager.”
“We all have a responsibility to work sustainably. “Our beer and lager are full of natural ingredients, that’s why they taste so good, and if we can then brew and bottle more by using the heat of the sun, then that’s what we want to do.
“And with weather forecasters predicting a hot summer ahead, then I can’t think of a better way to put all those lovely sun’s rays to the best possible use.”
The proposal also takes into account the heritage of the site and will not inflict any long term damage to the building.
Geo Green Power, who will install the panels, have said once the life-cycle of the panels is over they will be removed, returning the roof to its current look.
A report to the council’s planning department said: “These modules have a non-reflective coating to ensure that there are no undesirable side effects related to light-reflecting glare.
“The panels used will also be black in order that they won’t contrast with the roof.”