Coffee and beer have been in the news lately — and not for the reasons you might expect. Both of these delectable beverages, which many of us feel we couldn’t do without, are now at risk. Droughts in Brazilthreaten coffee crops, while water shortages around the world don’t bode well for beer, whose main ingredient is water.

Climate change is already causing more frequent and severe droughts, and that’s going to continue. So it’s no surprise that both coffee companies and breweries are turning to the power of the sun to help.

Park Avenue Coffee: The greenest roaster in the Midwest

Park Avenue Coffee in St. Louis, Missouri, recently opened their newest and greenest cafe. Solar providerMicrogrid Solar installed 200 solar panels to enable Park Avenue Coffee to operate the cafe and roasting facility at net zero, providing all electricity for the building.

The Microgrid Solar turnkey solar installation provides energy equivalent to powering 206 personal computers and 1547 CFL light bulbs, along with saving 126 barrels of oil. The company’s coffee roaster, produced by Loring Manufacturing, is 91% more efficient than a typical roaster and is completely powered by solar, making Park Avenue the greenest roaster in the Midwest.

“We are not doing this for the publicity, we are doing it because it is the right thing to do,” says Dale Schotte, CEO of Park Avenue Coffee.

Park Avenue Coffee CEO Dale Schotte (left) and Marketing Director Talan Cooksey (right)

Sustainability was top of mind for both Schotte and Talan Cooksey, Marketing Director, in every step of designing the roasting facility and cafe. From the counter to the windows, the construction relied heavily on repurposed materials. In addition, 80% of trash is recycled and composted.

Charles Tompkins, Director of Government Services at Microgrid Solar, said, “Park Ave Coffee is one of St. Louis’ most beloved local businesses, and Dale has done such a great job with the new location. From the recycled building materials and energy efficient equipment, to the solar array generating all the electricity they need, The Hill is now home to one of the greenest buildings in town, and Microgrid is proud to be a partner.”

Bear Republic Brewing Company: Tapping solar to make beer more sustainable

More than one brewery has been realizing lately that beer goes well with solar.

Now, Bear Republic Brewing Company is joining the others. North State Solar Energy, a Northern California general contractor that specializes in solar-electric installations for residential, commercial, and agricultural projects, has installed a PV system at the company’s Cloverdale facility.

The system is outfitted with Enphase Energy microinverters. Both the 30.2 kW rooftop solar array and a second, soon-to-be-installed 136.6 kW canopy system feature Enphase M250 American Pride Microinverters assembled in Milpitas, California.

“We raise a toast to Bear Republic’s decision to go solar and to work with fellow homegrown American success stories such as Enphase and North State Solar,” said Paul Nahi, CEO of Enphase. “A commitment to quality and sustainability drives all three companies, and we look forward to helping reduce Bear Republic’s energy bill and carbon footprint.”

The project marks the latest collaboration between Enphase and North State Solar. The solar contractor recently became an exclusive Enphase 2014 American Pride Partner for deployment of Enphase’s new American Pride Microinverters in commercial and residential solar installations throughout Northern and Central California.

“A big reason why we have been successful in bidding for Bear Republic and other projects with Enphase Systems is their track record for quality and reliability,” explained Mike Houar, president of North State Solar. “We’ve installed tens of thousands of Enphase microinverters, and it is, by far, the most reliable and highest production solar energy system in the industry.”

The solar project is part of a larger sustainability initiative for Bear Republic, which is also implementing technology to treat wastewater from the brewing process while capturing electricity and heat that goes straight back into the production process.

“We chose Enphase microinverter systems over string inverters because the design increases overall energy output,” said Peter Kruger, master brewer at Bear Republic. “If one part of the system suffers a drop in production, there’s no effect on the other parts of the system.”