Arkell’s Brewery, Swindon’s oldest business, is toasting an ultra-modern way of cutting its energy costs and enhancing its green credentials.
The firm, formed in 1843, has installed 148 solar panels on the roof of its historic brewery at Kingsdown at a cost of around £50,000.
The brewery, famed for producing its real ales in the same way for more than 170 years, has been cutting its carbon footprint in recent years. The biggest energy cost is its cooling systems – and, ironically, the success of a beer which celebrates the year the brewery started production has sent its bills higher.
Its 1843 lager requires a month of cooling against its real ales which need just five days of cooling before they are ready to drink.
Head brewer Alex Arkell, a direct descendent of the brewery’s founder, said: “We have three massive cooling systems to keep our beer and lager cold, all using significant amounts of energy.
“Our Beer is an all-natural product and looking after the environment that gives us the ingredients is critical. Over the last few years we have been working to reduce our carbon footprint, first through buying ingredients more locally where we can and now harnessing the sunshine to reduce our energy costs.”
The capacity of the new solar panels is 37 KWpk, estimated to be able to produce 35,261 kWh of electricity a year depending on the sunshine – even on a late summer afternoon, the panels generate 18 kWh. All power generated will be used in the brewery and the system should pay for itself within five or six years.
Pictured: Alex Arkell with the solar panels