New Belgium Brewing Continues Major North Carolina Investments with Solar Installation at Asheville Brewery
The installation, completed by local solar company, Renu Energy Solutions, highlights the economic impact of clean energy on local communities
The solar installation builds on other major investments at New Belgium’s Asheville brewery in the past two years – including a new canning line added in 2020, ten additional tanks to expand barrelage capacity installed just this spring, and a beer garden expansion project debuting this summer – all which have enabled the creation of 50 new jobs at New Belgium Asheville in the past two years alone. In addition, New Belgium has donated more than $1.4 million to 200 nonprofits across North Carolina since 2005 through the company’s longstanding commitment to give away $1 per barrel of beer sold.
“As we celebrate 10 years since announcing our move to Asheville with a brewery designed for rooftop solar, we’re thrilled to make good on our commitment to add more renewable energy to the grid,” said Jay Richardson, General Manager of New Belgium Brewing Ashville. “We’re inspired by so many North Carolina businesses that have and will continue to make climate investments in our community, and we hope our own contributions to climate action and resilience will help ensure Asheville remains a great place to live, work, visit, and drink world-class, locally brewed beer for decades to come.”
“The climate crisis is already harming our coworkers, our communities, and our customers here in Asheville and across the country – not to mention threatening the future of beer itself,” said Katie Wallace, Director of Environmental and Social Impact at New Belgium Brewing. “Renewable energy is an economic driver for businesses like New Belgium and our outstanding local partners at Renu, and for residents in need of good-paying jobs and clean air and water.”
The new solar installation in Asheville more than doubles the solar power that New Belgium previously provided across both breweries, building on the company’s first rooftop solar initiative at its original Fort Collins brewery back in 2010. Over 25 years, the renewable energy now being produced in Asheville will offset roughly 11,100 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 2,200 passenger cars annually – or the CO2 emissions produced by around 1.1 million gallons of gasoline – according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies calculator.
Climate change is a clear and catastrophic threat to the economy, our health, our communities, and the planet. Its impacts are already widely experienced across business and society, and the science is clear that these impacts will worsen in the coming decades. No industry is untouched by these impacts, but beer is especially at odds with this new world. Traditional ingredients like barley would be far more expensive as growing regions shrink due to increased temperatures. Extreme weather events and constant drought would cause the loss of entire crop years, making perishable ingredients like hops and malt rare, at best.
New Belgium embarked on its climate action journey three decades ago, as part of the company’s founding principles established in 1991. Most recently, New Belgium’s flagship Fat Tire became America’s first certified carbon neutral beer in 2020, and the company simultaneously committed to make the entire business carbon
neutral by 2030. The company has published the entirety of its carbon neutral blueprint for businesses on drinkssustainably.com, a website dedicated to helping others join New Belgium on the road to carbon neutrality.
Building on a long-standing philanthropy and advocacy program. New Belgium first embarked on solar in 2010 with a 200kW rooftop array on top of its Fort Collins brewery and later added a 96kW solar array in 2015. In 2014, they opened their LEED-certified brewery in Asheville. Solar panels were installed atop the liquid center when the brewery was constructed, with plans to later add an additional array atop the brewhouse and production facility.
Asheville’s recent solar installation was completed by Renu Energy Solutions. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Renu is the leading solar and energy storage installer in the Carolinas. The array at New Belgium comprises of 420W solar panels and is Renu’s largest brewery install to date. Renu is also working on a solar installation at New Belgium’s east coast distribution center in Enka, NC. Once complete, the 503.2kW PV array will consist of 1,184 panels.
“We are honored to serve as New Belgium Brewing’s installation partner for their spectacular solar project in Asheville, NC,” said Jay Radcliffe, CEO of Renu Energy Solutions. “With our shared commitment to the Asheville community, our partnership with New Belgium showcases building renewable energy directly within a community, placing clean energy production closest to where energy is consumed.”
To learn more about New Belgium’s climate history and current initiatives, or to download the carbon neutral toolkit, visit https://www.drinksustainably.com/.
About New Belgium Brewing
New Belgium was founded in 1991 in Fort Collins, Colo., by Kim Jordan, a social worker, who built her company the only way a social worker would: People first. From the beginning, New Belgium established norms that were and still are rare in the business world: fully paid healthcare premiums for all coworkers, paying a living wage, open-book management, renewable energy sourcing, a free onsite medical clinic staffed by a doctor trained in trans medicine, and much more – practices that, all together, represent a unique ‘human-powered’ business model that has expanded over the years, especially in advocating for human-powered business practices among larger companies. New Belgium is a certified B Corp with a 2030 Net Zero goal, maintains TRUE Zero Waste certification and was the first brewery to join 1% for the Planet. The company expanded to Asheville, NC, in 2016; Denver, Colo., in 2018, and San Francisco in 2021, and is currently the fastest-growing craft brewer in America. The company is famous for its flagship beer, Fat Tire Amber Ale, along with year-round favorites like Voodoo Ranger IPA (America’s #1 IPA brand), Dominga Mimosa Sour, and La Folie Sour Brown Ale; as well as an award-winning wood-aged sour program and innovative limited release beers. To learn more about the full product lineup and New Belgium’s Human Powered Business model, visit NewBelgium.com.
About Renu Energy Solutions
Renu Energy Solutions, headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is the leading solar and energy storage installer in the Carolinas. Recognized by Inc. Magazine’s annual Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies, Renu provides high-quality residential, commercial, and non-profit renewable energy solutions throughout the Southeast United States. With over 4,100 solar energy installations and 250 5-star reviews, Renu is the premium solar and energy storage firm empowering a more sustainable community. To learn more, visit https://www.renuenergysolutions.com/