A massive 3MW rooftop solar system has been installed at one of Australia’s biggest breweries and is helping to power the production of some of the nation’s most iconic beers, including Great Northern, Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught.
The Asahi Beverage Yatala on Queensland’s Gold Coast was shifted to solar by its owner, Carlton & United Breweries, which hired Smart Commercial Solar and AMPYR Energy to carry out the enormous 7,000-panel task.
The installation took more than 20 workers roughly 18 months to complete and required more than 150 kilometres of cable to be laid to fill “virtually every bit of available space” at the brewery with solar panels.
Maximilian Stenning, the general manager of Smart Commercial Solar, said the installation was one of the most complex projects the company had undertaken in Australia. The sheer size of the central solar control room, for instance, required it to be escorted by police to site.
“We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved with Asahi Beverages. Working in amongst an operating brewery of this size had its challenges, we delivered the system with no interruption to the facility,” he said.
“Asahi is at the leading edge of a quickly emerging trend among organisations to embrace ambitious projects that realise economic benefits for the business while delivering climate impact.
“The scope of it is amazing and sets the standard for breweries globally. We believe it’s Australia’s fifth largest onsite solar project and we are extremely impressed by Asahi Beverages’ commitment to take on a solar project of this magnitude.
Yatala Brewery plant manager, Tom Robinson, said the panels would generate enough solar to power “nearly 9,000 beer fridges” a year, while also making CUB Australia’s largest brewer of solar-powered beer.
“We’re committed to making the Yatala Brewery more sustainable and estimate the solar we generate will be enough to brew around 150 million stubbies or cans each year,” Robinson said.
“It’s not enough to power the entire brewery, [but] our goal is to ensure Yatala is powered entirely by a mix of directly-sourced and offset solar electricity within four years, in line with [CUB parent company] Asahi Beverages’ targets.”
Asahi Beverages, the Australian arm of Japanese brewing giant Asahi which acquired CUB in mid-2020, has set a goal of sourcing all its electricity across the country from renewable sources by 2025 and reduce its emissions by 50% by the same date.
CUB, meanwhile, has been working on its own target of 100 per cent renewables by 2025, which it has all but met through the installation of solar on its Abbotsford brewery in Melbourne, a 12-year power purchase agreement with Karadoc solar farm and a retail energy deal with Flow Power.