Bay Area policymakers joined with St. Francis Winery & Vineyard and PowerLight Corporation in dedicating St. Francis Winery’s new solar array. This 457 kW solar electric system is one of the largest solar installations in the Wine Country — and in the nation. Covering 80,000 square feet, this solar array produces the equivalent electricity during the day to power over 450 homes, and generates over 40 percent of the winery’s energy needs. The installation was completed in June 2004.Santa Rosa, California – August 16, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “This should be one of our nation’s highest priorities,” said Congressman Mike Thompson. “Affordable, reliable renewable energy is critical for our long term economic and energy security as well for the health of our environment.” The 457 kW PowerLight solar electric system consists of high efficiency solar modules incorporating photovoltaic (PV) cells from both Sharp Electric Corporation and SANYO. PowerLight employed two Xantrex inverters, which deliver power directly to the facility’s electrical system. In addition to generating power, the 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. “By harnessing the sun’s energy to generate electricity, we’re doing our part to protect the beauty of this magnificent region,” said Christopher W. Silva, President & CEO of St. Francis Winery. “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 preserve the environmental quality of Sonoma now, and for generations to come.” The St. Francis Winery solar electric project is on track to receive a rebate from Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s self-generation incentive program, which provides incentives for clean, on-site generation. St. Francis also invested in lighting upgrades to maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact. PowerLight custom designed hi-bay lighting for both the refrigerated barrel storage and winemaking operations area. The new lighting reduces the lighting electric demand by 48%, and generates 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. “This project exemplifies the measures all business owners can embrace to bring down their utility bills and conduct business in a sustainable manner,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Sharon Wright.