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Solar for microbreweries

Views: 204     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-05-18      Origin: Site

Spanish researchers studied the potential of photovoltaics on microbrewery rooftops and found that solar energy could reduce heating and cooling costs by almost 30%. According to the researchers, the use of photovoltaics in small breweries could result in payback times of between 4.3 and 6.6 years.


Researchers from the Andalusian Association for Research and Industrial Cooperation (AICIA) have explored the use of solar energy to improve energy efficiency in two microbreweries in Andalusia, Spain.

“Considering the fact that brewing is an energy intensive process, that small industries consume more energy and that smaller consumers pay higher prices for energy, it can be assumed that small breweries and microbreweries are candidates promising for cost-effective integration of solar energy,” they said.

Scientists developed a new methodology to estimate the energy consumption of microbreweries and assess the cost-effectiveness of integrating with a photovoltaic system. Their approach incorporates site measurements, evaluation of small-scale heat and cold supply components, as well as simulation tools to calculate the levelized cost of heat and cold (LCOHC) and payback period.

They analyzed an all-electric microbrewery equipped with a rooftop solar system in all 52 Spanish provinces. The study took into account the thermal characteristics of the main brewery building, heat in the tanks and cold in the fermenters, air conditioning and heat pumps, as well as photovoltaic generation.

To evaluate the economic feasibility of the PV system, the research team used two parameters: the discounted payback period (DPP) and the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). The group noted that for small and medium-sized businesses, some business accounting terms such as depreciation, residual value and corporate tax rate can be ignored, as their financial management resembles that of residential users rather than that of large companies.

The analysis revealed that Capex and electricity prices are the main factors affecting the commercial viability of the solar power generator. The study assumed a maximum installed power of 20 kW with half of the total roof area used for the photovoltaic system.

“Electric storage was not considered in the present study, as the brewery needs to be connected to the mains grid to ensure the supply of electricity to the process, which compensates for the variability of solar generation,” explained the researchers, who they also hypothesized that the photovoltaic system operates with a system that allows the sale of excess energy.

Techno-economic analysis showed that solar energy could help reduce the LCOHC of a microbrewery in Spain by up to 29.7%, ranging from 0.285 ($0.31)/kWh to 0.332 euro/ kWh.

“The payback period could be suitable for the companies' investment horizon, which ranges from 4.3 to 6.6 years,” said the Spanish team. “Extremely small PV systems, around 1 kWp, have the shortest payback periods. However, the improvement in LCOHC is negligible in most cases, with reductions ranging from -0.8% to -3.21% compared to the corresponding reference LCOHC”.




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