From a news release issued by Focus on Energy:

MADISON, Wis. (Dec. 9, 2009) — Central Waters Brewing Company of Amherst, Wis., received a $25,000 financial incentive from Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide
resource for energy efficiency and renewable energy, for the installation of its solar hot-water system. The renewable energy system will dramatically lower the brewery’s consumption of natural gas, reducing its operating costs and shielding it from increases in energy prices.

With 1,000 square feet of collector area and a 2,500-gallon storage tank, the system is expected to meet more than 18 percent of the brewery’s annual hot-water needs, saving at least $150,000 over its lifetime.

Every day, Central Waters’ brewing process uses about 1,500 gallons of water heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Before the solar hot-water system, this water was heated entirely using natural gas. Now, the water is pre-heated by the sun to a temperature of 130 degrees to 140 degrees. A natural-gas boiler heats the water the rest of the way, dramatically reducing the amount of natural gas the brewery consumes. Central Waters also uses the preheated water to clean tanks and kegs — an energy-intensive job that requires a water temperature of 180 degrees.

“Focus has been a great partner who’s helped us along as we’ve installed the solar hotwater system,” said Paul Graham, president of Central Waters Brewing Company. “Focus paid nearly 25 percent of our costs for the equipment and installation. Plus, there’s a 30 percent federal tax credit for businesses and individuals.”