Solar United Neighbors announced the winners of its annual Brews from the Sun competition, to crown America’s Favorite Solar Craft Brewery. The competition brings together solar and craft beer enthusiasts from across the country.

Maui Brewing Company of Hawaii placed first in the regional brewery category, Mad Mole Brewing of North Carolina won in the microbrewery category and Canal Park Brewing Company of Minnesota took the crown in the brewpub category. In total, 44 breweries competed across the three categories.

“We’re honored to be selected as America’s Favorite Solar Craft Brewery for 2019,” said Garrett Marrero, Maui Brewing’s founder and CEO. “Since our beginning in 2005, Maui Brewing has always been committed to sustainability. Brewing our beer and now distilling spirits with grid-independence makes sense for our business and the environment. We’re leading the charge to demonstrate it is possible to manufacture high-quality beverages and be mindful of the community and the environment.”

Solar accounts for more than 80% of Maui Brewing’s electricity needs. By the end of the year they plan to be 100% solar powered. Maui Brewing uses solar PV and thermal systems to provide electricity and hot water to brew the company’s beer. Maui Brewing’s 1.2-MW system was installed in 2017. They recently added battery storage to help achieve their goal of becoming grid-independent by the end of 2019.

“We were thrilled just to be associated with so many forward-thinking breweries,” said Ole Pederson, Martin de Jongh, Chris Worden and Thomas Varnum of Mad Mole Brewing. “We are grateful for all the support we have received from our wonderful customers and the local community. The competition helped raise awareness of the possibilities of solar.”

Mad Mole is Wilmington, North Carolina’s only solar-powered brewery. After opening the brewery in 2018, the owners didn’t waste time installing a 22-kW system to power the their beer production.

More than 13,000 votes were cast during the six-week competition by craft beer enthusiasts and solar energy supporters from around the country.

“We’re thrilled that so many people voted for us,” said Paul Kaz, owner of Canal Park Brewing Company. “We’ve been working towards installing solar since we opened in 2012, so just getting the panels up and running was a huge win for us. Winning America’s Favorite Solar Craft Brewpub was icing on the cake. We’re so grateful for the support of our staff, those involved in designing and implementing our system, and of course every one of our customers who voted and continues to support us by stopping in for solar-powered craft beer.”

Canal Park Brewing Company is new to solar, having their 16-kW system installed this year. Even before going solar, the company demonstrated its environmental commitment by offering biodegradable straws and composting all of its food waste.

“We are inspired by the many breweries around the country who are looking to the sun to power their beer,” said Anya Schoolman, Solar United Neighbors Executive Director. “They’re setting a great example not just for other breweries, but for everyone who can save money and take control of where their energy comes from by going solar.”

Solar United Neighbors is a national non-profit organization that helps people go solar, organize and fight for their energy rights. The non-profit helps thousands of people go solar every year through bulk purchases known as “solar co-ops” and also through a paid membership program. Members receive ongoing support for their solar system, discounts to businesses that have solar and join a community of solar supporters to ensure their investment in solar is protected.

News item from Solar United Neighbors