Milwaukee Brewing to use solar energy

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Milwaukee Brewing Company has announced it will install a solar hot water system at its Walker’s Point brewery. The 28-panel system will pre-heat water before it is used for brewing.

The brewery expects to install the system in early 2013. It will save the company about 27 percent in energy costs during the brewing process.

Milwaukee Shines, the city’s solar program, helped Milwaukee Brewing Co. find partners for the project. The state’s Focus on Energy program, Me2 and Milwaukee Shines all provided grants for the system.

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The Me2 grant stipulates that 40 percent of labor hours on the project will be awarded to historically underemployed or unemployed Milwaukee residents.

“Milwaukee is demonstrating that investing in clean energy and energy efficiency is not only good for the bottom line, but puts our citizens back to work,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Me2 and Milwaukee Shines also assisted with technical expertise and incentives to encourage the company to install the solar hot water system.

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“These innovative City of Milwaukee energy programs are designed to help business owners and residents see an immediate reduction in their energy bills, while creating local jobs for our citizens and creating a better environment for our community,” said Amy Heart, City of Milwaukee solar program manager.

The solar panels, solar storage tanks and controls for the project will be made at Caleffi Solar in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley.

Milwaukee Shines and Caleffi will feature the project as a national case study and the brewery will have an interactive display about the energy savings of solar when used in brewing.

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“The City’s energy programs were a great asset to help us save energy and increase our competitiveness,” said Jim McCabe, owner and founder of Milwaukee Brewing Company. “We hope our installation encourages others to make the investment as well,” said McCabe.

Milwaukee Brewing also practices sustainability elsewhere in its business. The brewery has a boiler that runs on biodiesel created from used cooking grease collected from local restaurants and Milwaukee County Parks. It sends used grain to Growing Power for compost. The company also reuses gray water for cleaning.

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