Brewers of Asheville & Western North Carolina to Receive SEIA's Solar Champion Award

This prestigious honor is bestowed upon entities or individuals who have helped strengthen solar energy across America.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Brewers of Asheville and Western North Carolina today are being presented with the SEIA Solar Champion Award, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has announced.

Leading Asheville and Western North Carolina breweries including the Appalachian Mountain Brewery, French Broad Brewery, Highland Brewing Company, Innovation Brewing, New Belgium Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company have turned to solar energy to power their operations - cutting energy bills, while boosting solar jobs in the region.

This prestigious honor is bestowed upon entities or individuals who have helped strengthen solar energy across America. In this instance, craft breweries are showcasing to businesses and homeowners alike that solar energy is a clean, reliable and affordable power choice.

"Because of solars cost-effectiveness, proven reliability and successful public policies - like the solar investment tax credit (ITC) - these smart North Carolina breweries are taking a giant step toward self-reliance, while saving money and reducing pollution along the way," said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. "We can all toast to that."

The 1,264 megawatts (MW) of solar power currently installed in North Carolina is enough to power approximately 135,000 homes, ranking the Tar Heel State 4th in the country.

"Highland chose to go solar because we are a better community member when we use a sustainable energy source with no environmental impact," said Leah Wong Ashburn, president of Highland Brewing Company. "When the rooftop bar opens in spring 2016, guests will overlook the solar array and view the surrounding mountains. Its a literal view of clean energy as it connects to clean environment."

On an average day, Highlands 325-kilowatt solar array, featuring solar panels manufactured by Canadian Solar and installed by Charlotte-based Entropy Solar, produces enough electricity to power the entire brewery.

Combined, the honored breweries are producing enough solar energy to power approximately 150-200 homes.

"We strongly believe in doing anything within our means to reduce our footprint on an individual and business level," Innovation Brewing owner Nicole Dexter said. "In this day and age we have to do whatever we can to protect our resources and environment. Utilizing solar power is one of many ways we hope to continue to grow and operate sustainably."

"Appalachian Mountain Brewery is proud to use solar power to off-set our energy usage and hopes to continue to lead by example for other Craft Brewers to follow, " said Sean Spiegelman, CEO of Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Inc. "We live our professional and personal lives by three core principles which are Community, Sustainability and Philanthropy. We are very appreciative and humbled to be recognized by the SEIA and the ABA for those principles and being a leader in commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. The future is brighter using solar for all of us at AMB."

"The brewing industry is collaborative by nature and working together toward renewable energy is where we can really move the needle," said Katie Wallace, Assistant Director of Sustainability, New Belgium Brewing. "One of our core values at New Belgium is environmental stewardship and as a newer kid on the block here in Asheville, were honored to be included in this award. Strong relationships have gotten us where we are with renewables in Colorado and were looking forward to continuing to develop those relationships in North Carolina."

SEIA will present the Solar Champion Award to the brewers alongside community, industry and government leaders this afternoon at the Highland Brewing Company.

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