On roofs around the city, solar energy raises its profile

Nick Fandos – St. Louis Beacon

Driving past Civil Life Brewing Co. on a sunny afternoon, the flash of reflected sunlight can be distracting. A glance back at the year-old brewery in the Tower Grove South neighborhood of St. Louis reveals the light’s source: an array of 106 solar panels blanketing the brewery’s south-facing roof, shining in the sunlight.

“As a brewery, I think it’s important to be conscious of your environmental impact,” said Civil Life owner Jake Hafner. “For us, it was also just about good business strategy.”

With 25 kilowatts worth of panels and high-grade insulation, Hafner said he is saving hundreds of dollars a month in energy costs by reducing what he pulls from the traditional power grid by 35-50 percent. He monitors his solar production online and earns credit with Ameren, the brewery’s electric utility, when he produces more than he needs.

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