Case Study Maui Brewing Co

Background

Maui Brewing Co. (MBC), located in Lahaina, Maui, is one of Hawaii’s fastest growing companies and the State’s largest craft brewery.  Founded in 2005, MBC has grown to over 18,000 barrels of production and has 18 distributors in 5 countries, including 11 States in the U.S. and delivers more than 6 million cans of beer to its consumers each year.

Maui Brewing Co. has built a reputation for creating handcrafted beers brewed using the finest natural ingredients and for employing sustainable business practices when it comes to its sourcing, packaging, and transportation.   And in the last seven years, it has continued to further reduce its carbon footprint with various initiatives.  For example, in 2011 MBC completed a 100kW photovoltaic (PV) system, constructed on the roof of the brewery, to help offset their electricity usage.

Challenge

As with many other food and beverage industries, breweries require large amounts of hot water in their daily operations and Maui Brewing Co. uses more than 5,000 gallons of hot water every day for its clean-in-place (CIP), and brewing processes at its Maui facilities.

While the 100kW photovoltaic system generates solar electricity, the hot water needs are currently met by burning propane, an energy generation method that is expensive and emits high amounts of greenhouse gas.

Background

Maui Brewing Company chose solar cogeneration for its dual production of electricity and hot water which provided them with higher greenhouse gas reductions and quicker payback than other solar solutions, such as PV or Solar Hot Water (SHW).

While each of these solar technologies has its benefits, both generate only one type of energy, electricity or heat.  Solar cogeneration combines proven PV and SHW technologies into a single system that maximizes the sun’s potential by extracting as much of the high-value electricity as possible and then delivers the rest as useful heat, used for solar heating and cooling.

Maui Brewing Co.’s energy needs and roof space called for a 24 SunDeck®, 71.4 kW system, which will be installed next to the existing solar photovoltaic array on the brewery’s roof.  The Cogenra Solar system will generate 50.1 kW thermal and 10.3 kW of electric output, supporting the brewery’s existing PV production.  By implementing a hybrid solar cogeneration system, Maui Brewing Co. can maximize its available roof space while at the same time decrease its consumption of electricity and propane.

Working together with a local installer, Green Global Communities, Cogenra Solar will install and commission the system at the end of 2012.  As with Cogenra customer installations, the construction process will be completed in a few weeks and will not interfere with business operations.

After its completion, the solar cogeneration array will heat water to 145 F which will then be used during MBC’s CIP process for sanitizing and during the brewing process for wort production.  Wort (“pre-fermented beer”) is a sugar-rich liquid that is created through mashing and lautering (sugar-extracting processes) of the malted barley, then boiled, cooled, fermented and moved to a holding tank until packaging.

Solar electricity will power the brewery’s pumps, packaging and cooling processes.  Overall, the system will offset about 30% of the site’s energy usage, displacing 12,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 3,200 therms annually of propane usage.

After the system is generating renewable energy, real time performance monitoring will provide Maui Brewing Co. with insight into their energy generation and environmental impacts.

Benefits

Maui Brewing Company chose solar cogeneration because it allows them to save money while at the same time helping the environment.  The solar cogeneration system will offset 30% of MBC’s energy costs, a high business expense in the State of Hawaii.  In addition to financial benefits, the solar cogeneration system will also reduce MBC’s greenhouse gas emissions by 28 metric tons each year.

Another benefit of implementing solar that is often overlooked is the ability to meet consumer demand for sustainable products.  Maui Brewing Co. believes that “consumers have and will continue to gravitate towards craft breweries that are sustainable and green” – employing solar cogeneration in their brewing processes positions MBC as a sustainability leader in the industry and allows them to meet the needs of its environmentally-centric consumers.

Maui Brewing Co. is the first of solar cogeneration installations in the State of Hawaii, and serves as a cost-effective solution for Hawaii businesses looking to combat the region’s high operating, labor and energy costs.