SolarCity Corp Completes The Largest Solar Project At Any US Brewery

SolarCity Corp Completes The Largest Solar Project At Any US Brewery
By BrokenSphere (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

The project will prevent more than 144 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere

SolarCity announced over the weekend that it has completed the largest solar project at any brewery in the United States. In collaboration with MillerCoors, the San Mateo-based company has installed 10,000 solar panels across ten acres of MillerCoors’ grounds in Irwindale in Los Angeles County. The 3.2MW array will produce enough energy to brew over 7 million cases of beer every year.

SolarCity’s project to save 672 million gallons of water for California

The project will help MillerCoors increase its energy independence. It will also offer environmental benefits to the residents of Los Angles County. SolarCity said in a statement that the system will prevent, over its lifetime, more than 144 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. That is equivalent to planting 6.2 million trees or taking over 12,000 cars off the road.

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The project will also save approximately 672 million gallons of water that might otherwise have been used to produce energy from nuclear or fossil sources. It would be a tremendous benefit to the state of California that continues to face severe drought. Assembly member Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) said that SolarCity and MillerCoors are helping support local jobs and cut carbon emission.

MillerCoors solar system to generate 5,840MW power every year

MillerCoors’ director of sustainability, Kim Marotta, said that the solar panels will provide up to 40% of the plant’s electric energy. SolarCity installed three separate arrays, all pointed south to capture the maximum sunlight. According to SolarCity VP Jim Cahill Jr, the panels will generate 3.2MW per hour or about 5,840MW per year. Electricity is required to heat, cool and pasteurize the beer.

On January 14, SolarCity received $200 million financing from Credit Suisse to support the growth of its MyPower financing vehicle. On January 6, it had secured another $350 million to fund MyPower program. Though the company mainly focuses on residential solar projects, it counts Hewlett-Packard and Wal-Mart as some of its big-ticket corporate clients. Last year, the company installed 80MW of solar panels in the U.S.

SolarCity shares inched up 0.70% to $48.95 in pre-market trading Monday.

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Vikas Shukla has a strong interest in business, finance, and technology. He writes regularly on these topics. - He can be contacted by email at
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  1. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, (NREL) a U.S. government agency, just finished a study where they determined that loans are far cheaper than third party leases. How are the leasing companies going to survive in a world where loans are accepted as being better for the consumer than leases ? Especially when leasing company loans include balloon payments and annual payment increases ?

  2. It is more accurate to say “avoiding contributing to water consumption” than “saving water”. Unless the fuel that the panels displace is refined in California it’s not going to have much affect to drought conditions or overall water consumption statewide. However it will contribute to reducing water national/global consumption in general once the water that was used to manufacture and transport the panels has been factored out.

  3. As always, I’m very impressed by Solar City. This project is another testament of the fact that solar energy is indeed a viable replacement for fossil fuel.

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