In Florida’s sunny panhandle, roaster and retailer Amavida Coffee Roasters is in the process of installing 170 solar panels on its headquarters in Santa Rosa Beach.
Once installed, the system is expected to generate approximately 102% of the power used in Amavida’s 10,000-square-foot roastery, making Amavida the latest in a short list of United States roasters to have invested in large-scale solar power.
The solar project at Amavida involves installing 170 Q-Cell solar panels with Enphase power inverter technology capable of producing 95,000 KW hours per year, according to the coffee company. In addition to the solar power, which is made possible through local partner Optimus Solar, the company is purchasing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations as it prepares to replace its gas-powered fleet.
All told, the cost of the solar project and EV stations has run to about $125,000, an investment the company hopes will return in savings within about seven years or even five years if it can secure a grant from the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program in Florida.
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The company expects a rate of return over the lifetime of the solar installation of 14%, Amavida Founder Dan Bailey told DCN via email, while the solar project will also open up potential federal tax credits.
While anyone’s investments in solar power infrastructure will vary drastically depending on scope, location and project partners, the Amavida team hopes to encourage other coffee companies to explore financially viable ways to reduce energy consumption and contribute to more sustainable environmental practices.
Amavida, which was named the Roast magazine 2018 Roaster of the Year in part for its commitment to reducing environmental impacts, began measuring its carbon output in 2017.
After identifying the specific sources of carbon polution within their production chain, the company began investing in carbon offsets through the organization Taking Root.
In an announcement of its new solar investment, the company said, “Each company’s path to becoming environmentally sustainable is unique and each has different levels of contribution to climate change, pollution, and waste.”