Federal grant to help with Fort George Brewery’s solar project

A solar panel
project planned at Fort George Brewery’s property in Uniontown will get help
from a federal grant.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden
and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley announced Friday that the Astoria brewery will
receive a $144,460 federal rural development grant to install a large,
roof-mounted solar panel.

A federal grant will
help Fort George Brewery with a renewable energy project in Uniontown.

The project is
expected to replace 68% of the energy used for the brewery’s distribution,
canning and production operations with renewable electricity.

“I am proud to
see Oregon businesses like Fort George set their sights on fighting the climate
crisis as they continue to produce iconic Oregon products,” Wyden, an
Oregon Democrat, said in a statement. “I will continue to work with
businesses around Oregon to move to renewable energy, making it more affordable
to do business while protecting our environment.”

Merkley, an Oregon
Democrat who helped create the Rural Energy for America Program, said the
funding will not only support the craft beer industry “with lower energy
costs, but also cut back on dangerous carbon pollution.”

The project, which
Fort George’s owner, Chris Nemlowill, expects to cost over $2 million, could
reduce the company’s utility bill by $36,913 per year.

Over its lifetime,
the system is expected to offset carbon dioxide at a level equivalent to
planting 207,210 trees, or averting the use of 909,030 gallons of gasoline.

Nemlowill said he
feels the project is the best thing the company can do from a sustainability

“I think that
it’s really important to be sustainable and be stewards in our community,”
he said, adding that he wants the brewery to set a good example. “I think
it will also be very inspiring for our community.”

Nemlowill said Fort
George has applied for a couple of other grants, which he said would be
necessary to help get the project completed.

If the additional
funding is secured, he expects the project to begin by the summer of 2024.

“We’re very
excited about the project and we really want to keep this going, get it to the
finish line,” Nemlowill said. “It’s really important to us.”