About 15 years ago, Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters in Olympia installed its first solar panels, adding enough to the roof of its tasting room to power back up batteries for an IT system, Chief Operating Officer David Wasson said.
On Tuesday, Batdorf took another big step in going solar when it held a ceremony to mark the placement of 36 solar panels atop its roasting and production facility near the Port of Olympia, next door to the tasting room and those original solar panels.
About 50 people participated in Tuesday’s ceremony, including Wasson and co-owners Larry and Cherie Challain.
Wasson said Tuesday that the expanded use of solar delivers a two-fold message: It’s an example of Batdorf’s commitment to sustainability, and it’s a nice addition on the eve of the company’s 30th anniversary. Batdorf turns 30 in 2016, he said.
“It’s another way to ‘walk the talk,’ ” said Wasson about the solar panels matching Batdorf’s values.
The 36 solar panels were installed at the end of September, and were switched on Monday afternoon, said Kirk Haffner, owner and lead engineer of South Sound Solar. The panels are expected to generate about 10,000 kilowatt hours per year — about the amount of energy used by a small home, Haffner said.
Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Batdorf applied for a $10,000 rural energy for America program grant, which the business is set to receive next month. That money will be used to offset the cost of installation, Wasson said.
Haffner said Tuesday that the Olympia area is home to more than 400 solar power installations.