A California Petroleum company is doing its part of atone for the drawbacks of worldwide demand for fossil fuels by tapping into solar energy. Sun Power & Geothermal Energy recently completed a 36.6 kW DC solar photovoltaic system for the Royal Petroleum Company headquarters in Santa Rosa, California.San Rafael, California – June 7, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] A California Petroleum company is doing its part of atone for the drawbacks of worldwide demand for fossil fuels by tapping into solar energy. Sun Power & Geothermal Energy recently completed a 36.6 kW solar photovoltaic system for the Royal Petroleum Company headquarters in Santa Rosa, California. Sun Power designed and installed the 36.6 kW photovoltaic (PV) system, which is mounted on the roof of Royal’s headquarters building. The system is composed of Sharp NT-185U1 PV modules and a PV30208 Xantrex inverter. Energy output from the solar system is monitored in real time by Sun Power’s SunSpot photovoltaic monitoring system, which sends live energy generation data over the Internet to verify performance and return on investment. “The petroleum industry has to live down its past,” President of Royal Petroleum Jim Dalton said. “Solar is clean energy, and the perception of Royal is the reality: we work on safety and running a clean operation.” Royal Petroleum received a rebate for the solar system from the Self-Generation Incentive Program of PG&E, which is the local utility administered by the California Public Utilities Commission. In addition to the rebate, Royal’s solar system qualifies for a 7.5% tax credit from the State of California, a property tax exemption and a federal 10% investment tax credit. The system is on an accelerated 5-year federal tax depreciation schedule for renewable energy. Sun Power engineered the system to work within California’s net metering laws. Net metering, a benefit of the 1996 deregulation of the California energy system, requires public utilities to credit renewable energy producers for the electricity they send to the grid. Royal’s system is tied to the grid, and the building runs on electrical power from the utility when the sun isn’t shining. On sunny days the PV system sends surplus solar power back to the grid for use by the general public. The electric meter spins backwards and Royal Petroleum is credited by the utility for the power. Royal taps into the credit when it uses utility power at night or on rainy days. “It’s a positive step forward for any petroleum company to install solar as their on-site power source,” said Dan Thompson, president of Sun Power & Geothermal Energy. Royal Petroleum said their system can produce the equivalent power needed to supply 15 California homes with electricity. By generating its own electricity through the solar panel system, Royal Petroleum replaces this energy for use by others connected to the grid. Each year the system should displace 40 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere by conventional California gas-fired power plants that would normally power the facility. It takes three acres of trees to filter this much CO2 from the atmosphere each year. Royal supplies diesel fuel, gasoline and lubricants to commercial fleets in California’s Sonoma and Marin Counties, including wineries and farms, construction companies, and school bus and firefighting agencies.