Today on Earth Day, Lawson’s Finest Liquids cut the ribbon on its 495-panel solar array-covered parking area across the street from its taproom and brewery on Carroll Road in Waitsfield.
In attendance was Lt. Gov. and Democratic Congressional candidate Molly Gray, as well as representatives from SunCommon, which installed the array over 40 parking spaces including 12 level-two electric vehicle charging stations. Despite the rain, members of the community joined the Lawson’s and SunCommon team under the array for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“This project is so important to us at Lawson’s Finest,” said company founder Sean Lawson. “To live up to our mission and vision of cultivating community and taking care of our planet, we must protect the environment. From the beginning, we’ve led with our values at Lawson’s Finest, doing everything we can to minimize our impact and utilize renewable energy for our business is an important part of what we do here.”
Duane Peterson of SunCommon called Lawson’s a model of a responsible business. “And so, we’re here today at Vermont’s largest free-standing solar canopy, named ‘the sunshine canopy.’ Its 495 solar panels are sturdy mounted … turning a parking lot into a solar farm,” he said. “Leave it to Lawson’s to bring about such innovation. We at SunCommon are proud to make this happen for our Lawson’s friends.”
Lawson said that the project has been years in the making.
“Fourteen years ago, my wife Karen and I founded Lawson’s Finest, and from the beginning we believed in leading with our values. For us that means supporting our environment and our local communities, as well as taking great care of our employees and our fans. Our vision for the future is that we leave the planet a better place by leading with our values of sustainable business practices and giving generously to benefit people and the environment,” he said. “I believe as business leaders we must do everything within our reach to reduce our carbon footprint to create a more livable future. Using clean renewable energy to power our homes, our businesses and our cars is the way of the future.”
Lawson referenced the company’s Social Impact Program, one part of which is called “Green is Grand” referring to ways the company works to reduce the environmental impacts of its operations such as managing its wastewater, relying on renewable energy, and installing state-of-the-art efficient equipment.
“Today, in spite of the rain, is all about sunshine. And sunshine is a big part of our business, from our branding to the electrons that we use to power the brewery and the taproom,” Lawson said in a nod to one the brewery’s signature beers such as Sip of Sunshine. “Our goal is to produce 100% of our electrical needs and offset that with solar in the next five years. We’re to 60% percent with another 10% on top of our brewery. We’re really excited. Thank you to everyone at SunCommon for making this dream a reality.”
Gray congratulated the companies for their leadership and collaboration.
“I cannot imagine a better place and a better moment to recognize this Earth Day. This ribbon cutting truly represents so much of what makes Vermont special: two incredible Vermont businesses committed to social responsibility coming together for our community, our climate, our state and our planet,” she said. “It also involves two things we enjoy as Vermonters—sunny days and a good IPA.”
She called Lawson’s “Green is Grand” initiative a model for how Vermont businesses can lead in reducing environmental impact. “It’s also an example of exactly where we need to be headed as a state, nation and global community,” she said.
This story was originally posted April 22 online at The Valley Reporter.