In rural Ord, Nebraska, Scratchtown Brewing Company, LLC is saving nearly 70 percent in energy costs thanks, in part, to a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) renewable energy grant awarded in 2019 to purchase a new 24-kilowatt rooftop solar array. These renewable energy improvements are estimated to be saving the brewery approximately $3,281 per year and generate 32,359 kWh per year, which is enough energy power nearly three homes - contributing to the reduction of their carbon footprint.
While the REAP grant helped with the affordability of financing the solar array installation, the renewable energy generated contributed to a decrease in the brewery’s electrical bills and allowed that savings to be put back into the business. “It has contributed to a ten-fold decrease in our electrical bill. During the past year, we produced an excess amount of power needed for six months out of the year, and in total, had an energy bill for only three months of the calendar year,” President of Scratchtown Brewing Company Caleb Pollard said. The energy savings couldn’t have come at a better time for Pollard with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic occurring less than a year after installation. “The offset in electrical costs was a godsend during the worst parts of Covid-19 and businesses were closed. In our industry, any cost savings could mean the difference between making it or losing it all,” Pollard said.
In partnership with Cornerstone Band and the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, USDA’s REAP grant has helped Pollard make this project more affordable and remain a viable business during a difficult economic time. “Our energy savings alone helped us keep the doors open…Any and all dollars retained during this situation has been imperative to our business' survival."