What’s Brewing: Ursa Minor solar panels

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Brewing can be an energy-intensive process, and some local breweries try to offset that with solar panels.

Ursa Minor has dozens of panels on their roof.

“Brewing is a really fantastic process, but it takes a lot of energy at a lot of different stages,” Owner Ben Hugus said. “I mean, we have to heat water up, we have to cool stuff down, we have to keep beer cold, we have lots of coolers. It’s something that brewers don’t always love to talk about, but it really does consume a lot of energy.”

Ursa’s solar panels provide enough energy to cover three Minnesota households. It’s not enough kilowatts for everything they do, but it helps.

They also try to buy local produce and meat for the kitchen and put beer in cans rather than bottles.

“That’s kind of an odd one people don’t think about. But cans are really light. So transporting them doesn’t consume as much diesel and all that when glass is very heavy,” Hugus said. “And it’s very energy intensive to recycle versus aluminum is very easily recyclable and actually benefits local governments in that process.”

Ursa Minor is also sponsoring the Lincoln Park cleanup effort on Saturday, April 22. People who come out and volunteer their time will receive a free beer token.

On Sunday, they’re hosting a Sustainability Market.

“There are so many people in the community that they focus their businesses, they focus their nonprofit efforts on fixing what we’ve done to this Earth,” Hugus said. “We wanted to kind of give them a platform to showcase what they do.”

He said there will be solar panel installers, sustainability nonprofits, community garden organizers, and more.

Stay up-to-date on the happenings at Ursa Minor on their website.