Napa, California [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] What began as a few small vineyards in California installing solar PV as a way to leverage their extra space, great solar resources and need for on-site power has now ripened into a staple of the California solar market. And now the trend is moving beyond vineyards but also to larger distributors with the latest project reaching close to a half-MW in installed capacity.The Wine Service Co-operative, a major wine storage and distribution center for boutique wines, has commissioned a 424 kW solar electric system for their Napa Valley facilities, to be furnished by PowerLight Corporation. This is one of the first new solar PV projects to step beyond vineyard and into the larger distributor market. “As a solar energy supporter who’s recently installed a solar array at my winery, it was the logical next step to recommend to my Wine Co-op colleagues that they purchase a solar electric system,” said John Williams, President of Frog’s Leap Vineyards. “By deploying solar power, the Wine Co-op will realize the environmental and economic benefits of this technology.” Comprised of two solar electric systems (195 kW and 229 kW), the projects will be installed atop the Wine Co-op’s St. Helena and South Napa facilities. These solar arrays will generate enough electricity during the day to power over 400 homes, and, combined with energy efficiency measures, provide up to 100 percent of the facilities annual energy needs, substantially reducing operating costs. “The installation of solar power at our wine storage and distribution facility marks a step forward in our continuing efforts to reduce costs for our members while helping to achieve sustainability,” said Bob Holmes, General Manager, Wine Service Co-operative. The PowerLight tilted solar roof system at the Wine Service Co-op features modules with a 10-degree tilt to maximize exposure to Napa’s abundant sunshine. The lightweight, photovoltaic roofing assembly generates clean solar electricity, protects the roof from the damaging effects of weather and UV radiation, and is installed without penetrating the roof surface. The solar arrays, which consist of 2,125 solar modules manufactured by Sharp, will cover a total of 38,000 square feet. These solar arrays leverage an unused asset — the facilities’ roofs — to generate clean power and reduce operating costs. When combined with lighting upgrades, the solar generation system will substantially eliminate the facilities’ annual electricity requirements. In addition to solar generation, PowerLight deployed energy-saving lighting upgrades at the Napa warehouse using high efficiency, high output linear fluorescent technology. Additional energy efficiency measures performed by the Wine Co-op included additional insulation in the roofing system, and the replacement of air conditioning package units. The Wine Service Co-op was formed in 1972 by wineries located primarily in Napa Valley to provide a centralized consolidation point for cased storage and shipping services. Nearly 50 member wineries store and ship cased wine at WSC. “The wine industry is to be commended for integrating cost-effective solar into their energy mix,” said PowerLight President Dan Shugar. “These businesses are effectively lowering operating costs, reducing purchases of expensive peak electricity, and taking pressure off the electrical grid.” The project is scheduled for completion by Summer 2005.