GOSHEN — The Goshen Brewing Co. is going solar after a vote by the city Redevelopment Commission.
The brewpub in the former NIPSCO building at 315 W. Washington St. received permission to install solar panels on the roof and exterior walls. Owner Jesse Sensenig has leased the canal-side building from the city since 2013 and needed the RDC to agree to the addition, since it wasn’t something that was considered in the original terms.
Permission was granted Tuesday with the condition that city staff sign off on the final plans, and that they be prepared by a registered engineer. Solar cells will be added to the roofs of both the original building and the 2015 addition built for extra seating, as well as to the south and west exterior walls.
“So it would be visible. We kind of wanted it to be visible to our customers, and also get some extra energy there too,” Sensenig told the RDC.
He also noted Tuesday that the pub uses a lot of electricity through all its operations, such as the electric boiler, and he wanted to offset that.
In his written request to the city, he said part of the brewing company’s mission is to reduce its carbon footprint. He said having panels that will be aesthetically pleasing, functional and visible will send a message about their sustainable practices.
He plans to schedule the installation before the end of 2019, to take advantage of tax credits before the year ends, with actual installation to take place in early 2020.
Jason Eiseman, a renewable energy consultant at Wellspring Components, which designed the arrangement of panels, said the system will produce about 32 kW of power. He said it would put any excess energy that the building doesn’t use back into the power grid.
The installation would generate about 11 percent of the company’s energy through solar power and save about $340 from the monthly electric bill, according to information from Wellspring.
Sensenig has also informed the commission of his intent to exercise his option to purchase the building sometime in the future. The terms of the lease allow him to purchase the building for $95,000.
Board members praised Sensenig for his work with the old property, which needed some initial repairs and rehab to make it usable.
“I thought this young man was really taking a big chance,” remarked RDC member Tom Stump. “But boy, it turned out pretty good, I’d say.”