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Culture Acre Distilling goes solar

Acre Distilling goes solar

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Neetish Basnet
Neetish is a writer and digital content producer for Fort Worth Business Press. He has been covering businesses of all shapes and sizes in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex for several years. After graduating with a journalism degree from University of Texas-Arlington, Dow Jones News Fund selected him for a digital media fellowship. He still likes the smell of a freshly printed newspaper.

The light is in sight for Acre Distilling. Solar light that it.

The distillery and bar in Downtown Fort Worth is on the verge of becoming the first solar-powered distillery in Texas, by harnessing the power of the sun from its parking lot.

The distillery is building two large parking shelters and renovating its parking lot. Apart from providing shade and protection to vehicles, the roof of the parking shelters will be fitted with about 350 solar panels.

Owner of Acre Distilling, Tony Formby, had told the Business Press last year that self-generating power from the solar panels will cut the facility’s energy costs down to zero. He said his electricity bills ran about $2,000 per month last year.

The solar panels are estimated to generate 104% of the distillery’s power requirements.

The project, being terms as “Green Acre Initiative,” broke ground earlier this year and has now neared to its completion. Acre Distilling anticipates the project will complete by mid-July.

“Throughout my career, I’ve had the unique opportunity to work in several industries – tech, renewable energy and the beverage industries,” Formby said. “As we have experienced the impact of climate change over the past two decades, I felt that it was my responsibility to take my experience and do something that other businesses might follow.”

Formby held majority ownership of Rahr Brewing throughout the late 2010s, eventually opening Acre in 2015. He had also previously served as a fellow at Colorado Cleantech Institute, where he learned about renewable sources and energy and the changing dynamics in the energy sector.

Formby now wants other businesses to also see the light. He envisions more businesses should adapt to the energy needs and adopt his parking lot idea.

The concept of turning the business’ parking lot into a mini solar plant panned out after numerous discussion and brainstorming sessions with Kevin Warren, vice president of Fort Worth-based Circle L Solar and a former bartender at Acre.

Founded in 2005, Circle L Solar provides custom solar energy solutions to homes and businesses.

“We complete a thorough evaluation of their energy usage to curate a customized strategy that will ultimately alleviate their energy concerns,” said Deke Welling, Co-founder of Circle L Solar.

Circle L Solar contracted the construction of the carports with Haltom City-based USA Eagle Carports.

As part of the “Green Acre Initiative,” Acre Distilling is also replacing all single-use plastic with their biodegradable equivalent; introducing a bottle recycling program with a discount for a future purchase and will provide a space for environment-friendly community events.

The distillery compound will also have electric car charging stations. Fort Worth-based Revitalize Charging Solutions are providing the charging stations.

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