Solar

Work Begins on Half MW Solar Electric System

In what could be seen as a growing trend among California wine-makers, St. Francis Winery commissioned the installation of a 457 kW solar electrical system for its Winery in Santa Rosa. At nearly 500 kW, St. Francis’ new solar array will be one of the largest solar installations in the Wine Country – and in the nation.

Santa Rosa, California – January 28, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Furnished by PowerLight Corporation of Berkeley, California, this solar system will produce the equivalent electricity during the daytime to power over 450 homes, and generate over 30% of the Winery’s annual required energy. The installation will be completed in May 2004. “For three decades, St. Francis has achieved great success amidst the natural wonder of Sonoma County,” said Christopher W. Silva, President & CEO of St. Francis Winery. “We owe it to this magnificent region to do everything in our power to protect it. One of the ways we’re doing our part is to generate electricity at our winery using the sun’s energy. We’ve found that solar electricity is affordable and practical, not only for winemakers, but for all businesses and organizations that want to reduce costs and help stabilize our region’s power supply. We hope that other businesses will follow our lead and be inspired to help preserve the environmental quality of Sonoma now and for generations to come.” The 457 kW PowerLight solar electric system consists of high efficiency solar modules, that convert sunlight directly into electricity. This solar electric system spares the environment from thousands of tons of harmful emissions such as CO2, NOx, SOx, which are major contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming. “We salute St. Francis’ environmental stewardship,” said PowerLight President Dan Shugar. “By adopting clean, reliable, sustainable power, St. Francis is furthering its reputation as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible winemakers. The solar electric system will enable St. Francis to generate power from the sun, and feed any excess power back to the utility grid, especially on sunny days during times of peak demand. St. Francis is helping offset peak power costs statewide, which benefits all of California’s utility customers.” St. Francis is also conducting energy efficient lighting upgrades at the Winery. PowerLight will furnish custom designed hi-bay lighting for both the refrigerated barrel storage and winemaking operations area. The new lighting will reduce the lighting electric demand by 48%, and generate less heat to help maintain a cool temperature for wine storage. In addition, the high efficiency lighting more closely matches natural lighting, increasing visual acuity while presenting a more comfortable work environment.