The 1836 Little House Brewing Company building now has a Tesla solar roof

Little House Brewing Company, in Chester, Connecticut, now has a Tesla solar roof on its 1836 home!

By Paul Braren at TinkerTry.

I’ve had my eye on Tesla solar products for a long time and started writing about Tesla solar in 2015 (see: “Elon Musk’s Powerwall, time-shifting the energy of this hands-on fusion reactor in the skyI’ve also been thinking about residential solar since becoming a two-vehicle household in 2020.

Photo courtesy of Paul Braren, used with permission.

So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I learned that Tesla Solar Roof had recently been installed on a prominent building in the heart of Chester, Connecticut, very walkable, just half an hour away from my house in Connecticut! Coming down on a sunny Saturday, December 4, 2021, I happily arrived just before sunset to take some exterior photos and the intro footage used in the video below. I then stopped there small brew house company below the apartment to ask if I could meet the owner one day, and a super nice employee put me in touch via email.

Upon learning that there was a group event arranged by the Connecticut Green Building Council which included a site visit to the Little House Brewing Company Tesla Solar Roof, I immediately checked in my wife and I. Even better than an interview with only my cheesy questions, this way I will also hear the many questions from the locals! Turns out there were several architects in attendance, a couple who love their big passive house, and even an Eversource employee and his wife, all of us enjoying this mostly outdoor winter event together on a chilly Saturday, cloudy and drizzly, December 18, 2021.

What’s really fun to watch are the enthusiastic questions from the attendees, along with the remarkably candid responses from Little House Brewing Company founder Sam Wagner, which allowed me to film and share everything he said. . Direct answers, and lots of them! He also introduced us to Carlisle Schaeffer, the other co-founder, with their intriguing story detailed. here.

Photo courtesy of Paul Braren, used with permission.

When one of the Tesla roofers that Sam knows nicely made an appearance at the end, he was super polite and generous with his time. Tesla employees are generally not allowed to appear on camera in such videos, to avoid any perception that they are speaking on behalf of the company, but I was able to take some high level notes on this what we learned:

  • There are currently several crews in Connecticut.
  • Tesla solar roofers are full Tesla employees, and it’s a skilled trade given the custom metal fabrication that’s required on-site.
  • New England has some of the most complicated structures to work with.
  • There could be over a hundred Tesla solar rooftops in Connecticut.
  • Rocky Hill, Connecticut is perhaps one of the most productive Tesla Solar offices in the country.
  • Built in 1836, at 185 years old, it may be the oldest building to have a Tesla solar roof in the world!

The basic project overview shows the tile planning, provided by co-owner Sam. You can see the photovoltaic cells outlined in white covering almost all usable parts of the roof.

What a great opportunity to see this installation so up close and personal, with the co-owner telling great stories about his reasons for opting for a Tesla solar roof on a building constructed in 1836! He also confessed his bias towards Tesla’s products goes back a long way, pre-ordering his beloved Model 3 many years ago. A highlight to top off this fun event was when Sam shared his true dream:

“The ideal scenario is that all of Chester is dark, the little house is lit, people are drinking beer, which will pay off that roof very quickly.”

Seems to me Little House Brewing might just be a wandering squirrel away from this dream coming true.

Last update

On January 25, 2022, I received this update from co-owner Sam Wagner:

“January 25, 2022 – Our system size is 9.17 kW, with Tesla estimating that we will produce 4,171 kWh/year. We’re already producing more kWh daily than my original expectations for this time of year, and I think that could be because we’ve updated some tiles that may not have been accounted for in Tesla’s initial estimates for the project. By my projections, we should be able to offset over 15% or more of our annual electricity bill, not including the Eversource Connected Solutions program, based on last year’s usage numbers. What’s even more exciting is that we’ve found a number of utilization efficiencies across the brewery and dining hall, which in theory will significantly reduce our overall utilization and increase said gap !

Resources

small brew house

Photo courtesy of Paul Braren, used with permission.

Bringing together a bit of my own research that complements the video notes below:

Note for using Home Battery Storage Demand Response: You can earn rewards and reduce carbon emissions by enrolling your home battery storage system with Eversource’s Connected Solutions. Home batteries can help you store clean energy generated by a home solar system, or simply provide backup power in case you need it. By enrolling in the ConnectedSolutions Demand Response program, you will be rewarded for allowing Eversource to use the energy stored in your battery during times of high demand.

Note on Energy Storage Solutions: This energy storage program can help you prepare for the increasing frequency of weather-related outages while earning incentives. Incentives are available for the initial purchase and installation of a battery, plus additional monies each time your battery is used to help sustain the power grid.

small brew house

Photo courtesy of Paul Braren, used with permission.

small brew house

Photo courtesy of Paul Braren, used with permission.

About the Author: Paul is an IT professional and tech blogger who covers PCs, EVs, home tech, efficiency, and more. Paul has been blogging for over a decade and has focused more on video content since buying his first electric vehicle in 2018 – a Tesla Model 3 Long Range, which replaced his 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid. All photos are provided by Paul and are used with permission.

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