Rock Art Brewery released its first beer as a solar-powered operation last week, providing a suitable toast as Rock Art became the first Vermont brewery to fully offset its electricity needs with solar power.

SunCommon of Waterbury helped the 20-year-old, family-owned brewery by installing a 200-panel, 67 kW array on the brewery’s rooftop in Morrisville.

“Beer brewing and packaging uses a lot of energy. We’re always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact and solar was a perfect fit. We can run our machinery on sunshine — why not?” Matt Nadeau, Rock Art’s co-owner, said. “There’s an energy source hitting our roof every day and all we needed to do was work with SunCommon to put some equipment up there to capture it.”

To mark the occasion, Rock Art released a new beer June 27. Sun Rocked IPA features tropical fruit, berries and citrus flavors, “everything that summer sunshine represents,” Nadeau said.

SunCommon launched its commercial solar program last year to extend its no-upfront-cost solar offering to local businesses looking to save money, control their energy spending, and power with clean energy.

“At SunCommon, our commercial program focuses on helping Vermont businesses reduce their energy costs, so they can spend on what matters, like serving amazing, local beer,” said Mike McCarthy, Solar Project Consultant for SunCommon.

Deborah Carroll, executive director of the Lamoille Region Chamber of Commerce, called the collaboration between Rock Art and SunCommon “a shining example of how a local business with large energy demands can partner with a clean and renewable energy provider for the benefit of both businesses, our environment, our community, and our local economy.”

Approximately 1 in 25 Vermont homes is solar-powered and Vermont is home to the most solar jobs per capita according to the 2017 Clean Energy Industry Report.

“More and more of our customers are environmentally conscious and it’s good for them to see our solar array as an example of clean energy at work,” Nadeau said.

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