Solar panels and creativity power WhistlePig distillery
For Same Sun of Vermont, it was important to deliver on their customer’s three must-haves: install a solar panel array that produces clean and efficient solar power, be aesthetically pleasing, and promote its respected brand name. Not the easiest (or most frequent) ask. But the team at Same Sun, a Panasonic premium installer, was up to the challenge.
The customer, WhistlePig, is a crafter of some of the most sought after and priciest rye whiskey on the market. In addition to a passion for distilling world-class whiskey from its picturesque 500-acre Vermont farm, WhistlePig is an eco-conscious business that takes environmental responsibility seriously.
Produce abundant, clean solar power to run the customer’s distillery operation while creating a bold visual on their rooftop.
173 Panasonic HIT® 325-watt solar modules wrapped in custom-designed SolarSkin graphics, installed with the finest attention to detail.
A stunning visual of the customer’s logo on a Panasonic rooftop solar array. The system produces 4,500 kWh of renewable energy monthly and can be seen for miles.
- Solar panel installer: Same Sun of Vermont
- Customer: WhistlePig
- Solar products: 173 Panasonic HIT 325W modules
- SolarSkin wrap & design: Sistine Solar
- Graphic design & wrap installation: Green Screen Graphics
- Power production: 54,292 kWh
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction: Approximately 814 metric tons lifetime
“The company wanted to produce clean energy but they also wanted their bottling plant and warehouse to have a dramatic looking rooftop,” explains Same Sun of Vermont founder, Philip Allen.
Easier said than done. How do you use solar panels as a renewable energy source for company headquarters and a cool billboard display? Enter 18-year solar industry veteran and Same Sun Vice President, Khanti Munro.
“I cherished the opportunity to get way out of my comfort zone and come up with something notably more impressive than trying to layout a ‘W’ with a handful of rectangles,” said Munro.
Knowing they needed an innovative idea for such a unique request, Same Sun partnered with Sistine Solar to develop a custom solution. Sistine provided a SolarSkin wrap for each module, creating the illusion of whiskey barrels with the company’s name on the rooftop.
The only downside of the eye-catching visual display is the approximate 20% loss in kWh production due to the covering on the panels. For this reason, it was crucial to start off with a solar panel of the highest long-term efficiency.
“The best way to mitigate the absorption loss from the skins was to use Panasonic HIT modules,” Allen says. “We knew these high efficiency modules coupled with their exceptional production under dramatic temperature changes – like a metal roof in Vermont - would maximize the array’s potential.”
Using 173 HIT® 325-watt modules, the finished product exceeded their expectations. The stunning visual WhistlePig was looking for was as bold as it was beautiful. The Same Sun installation crew succeeded in not only getting 100-foot-long rows of modules straight and square on a metal barn roof, but also spelling something in the process. “Using Panasonic modules, the squarest rectangles we’ve installed to date, definitely helped.” Munro said.
More importantly, the array will produce 4,500 kWh of solar energy every month, about five times more than the average monthly usage of an American home. Even better news for the environment is the equivalent greenhouse gas reduction of over 90,000 gallons of gasoline consumed.1
“It’s counter-intuitive to sell something for more that produces a little less,” says Munro. “But in today’s climate crisis, what is the value of getting a well-respected global company to go solar that likely never would have otherwise?”
In the name of eco responsibility, we couldn’t agree more.
1Calculations made using Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator at www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas- equivalencies-calculator