Apocalypse Brew Works, a new microbrewery in Louisville, Kentucky, is taking advantage of a growing trend in the restaurant industry: solar hot water.
The brewery opened last month with eight beers on tap, all made with hundreds of gallons of free hot water, thanks to the roof’s rows of solar thermal panels.
This is big news in a state that has relied on its wealth of coal deposits to provide electricity–and hot water–for generations. The state government released a report in 2011 that stated 92 percent of the state’s electricity came from coal. On the other hand, there isn’t enough solar power in the state to even make it on the government’s radar.
Apocalypse co-owner Bill Krauth didn’t let the state-wide solar shortage deter him however. Krauth owns a local heating and cooling business that happens to share the brewery’s building. His heating and cooling employees installed the brewery’s solar hot water system as part of a company training in the technology.
Krauth reported that his system heated water up to 150 gallons of water to 190 degrees in the first two days.
The panels were installed last fall, and the brewery reported that even on cold winter days, they had no problem producing hot water. Krauth said, “…Even if the sun is not out, we’re still getting some of the spectrum, the rays, ultraviolet rays, and it’s still creating heat for us.”