Sunlight Electric & Shamrock Renewable Energy Services VF Outdoor Coalition Campus
In May 2011, VF Outdoor, a subsidiary of VF Corporation, broke ground on its four-building, 11-acre, 160,000-square-foot campus in Alameda, California, to consolidate locationsfor three VF brands: The North Face, lucy and JanSport.
Terlato Wine Group is investing more than $3 million to transition its California wineries to solar power
Designed by Sunlight Electric and managed by Shamrock Renewable Energy Services, Chimney Rock’s new solar power system is expected to eliminate the emission of nearly 342,500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Terlato plans to extend the initiative to its Rutherford Hill Winery in Napa and Sanford Winery in the St. Rita Hills region.
To meet Ganau's needs, Sunlight Electric of Sonoma custom-designed an innovative non-penetrating racking system to support the panels at a 15-degree tilt to maximize solar production. The system installation was completed by Shamrock Renewable Energy Services of San Ramon.
Mesa Beverage Installs 415,000KW Rooftop Solar Array
Marc Herculson, executive vice president of Mesa's parent company, Liquid Investments of San Diego, noted, "Our solar project will not only satisfy our agreement with the county but [also] will annually reduce emissions by over 735,000 pounds of CO2 each year." System integrator Sunlight Electric LLC estimated that the system will offset 75 percent of Mesa's annual electricity usage, saving the company $180,000 a year."
Joe Garbarino, President Marin Sanitary says, "I've been a garbage man since 1948 in high school, but I was never really a garbage man, I was a scavenger. Now we're scavenging the sun -- we're recycling it." "The more of this we can do, the less we're going to depend on foreign oil, and that's hurting the US economy really bad, and it's getting worse every day." "We're leasing the solar panels and the cost is less than what our yearly energy bill would be."
Hotel Carlton, San Francisco: This Joie de Vivre Hotel uses green design to energize its roof line and its bottom line.
Making the shift to solar may be primarily about energy savings, but it also has aesthetic and infrastructural implications. Sunlight Electric, a locally based designer and retailer of photovoltaic systems, took that into consideration when mapping out the installation for this Joie de Vivre Hotels' property on Lower Nob Hill. After a system analysis, Sunlight Electric decided on a ballasted racking system for the 105 panels that would sit atop the Hotel Carlton: The panels don't penetrate the roof, so they're modular and can be moved if necessary (if the hotel decided to add floors, for instance).
On June 21, ZD Wines, Honig Vineyard & Winery and Peju Province Winery hosted a summer solstice celebration, where each winery offered wine-tasting, live entertainment and sustainable gourmet cuisine. Guests paid $50 per person, which included entry to all three wineries, a celebration and behind-the-scenes tour of the solar energy systems that power the wineries.
Representatives of the three wineries presented a $5,000 check on Aug. 25 to Napa County Land Trust representatives, including its executive director, John Hoffnagle.
The inaugural "Solarbration" will be from 5:30 p.m. to sunset on Saturday, June 21 at three Rutherford wineries: ZD Wines, 8383 Silverado Trail; Honig Vineyard and Winery, 850 Rutherford Road; and Peju Province Winery, 8466 St. Helena Highway. The wineries are hosting a solstice celebration, including special wine tastings, sustainably grown gourmet cuisine and live entertainment. Guests are invited to behind-the-scene tours of the wineries' solar array systems that power the wineries.
Rob Erlichman, CEO of Sunlight Electric, citing stats from the NorCal Solar Energy Association, said that across the Bay Area's 10 counties, the average watts per capita of installed solar is 16.7; but, Napa County far exceeds that at 51.1 watts per capita. Erlichman's research also shows "Rutherford is the most solar place in all the Bay Area."
"With a population of 525, that means our work has generated 1,135 watts per capita, so it seems that our customers are largely responsible for putting Rutherford on the solar map."
Sunlight Electric has completed five major projects in Rutherford — Frog's Leap, Honig, Long Meadow Ranch, Staglin and ZD Wines, totaling about 600 kilowatts.
Certified by city officials as a green business, the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco's lower Nob Hill area recently became the first hotel in San Francisco to install solar panels on its roof. Hotel manager Joie de Vivre Hospitality says the array is expected to reduce the 161-room hotel's electricity usage by 12%. The installation is a partnership of Hotel Carlton and Sunlight Electric, a locally based provider of photovoltaic systems for the commercial market.
On sunny days Frog's Leap produces more energy than it needs.
"That energy goes back through our meter, runs our meter backwards, and gives our neighbors the electricity that we're producing, or sells it to them," says founder John Williams. "On the days that we can't produce enough energy, or at night, that energy comes back through the grid and runs our meter forwards."
And as a result Frog's Leap's electricity bills are a lot less these days.
"Our first year I think our energy bill for the whole year was $1.58, or something like that," says Williams.
California wineries are leading the charge to switch to solar power and they treat the air as well as they do the land. Here are some of the best bottles from wineries that are doing their part to stem global warming. [Featuring Robert Keenan Winery and Frog's Leap Winery.]
Havens Wine Cellars is the latest Napa Valley winery to plug into solar power. The winery says it expects its new 47-kilowatt solar system to fuel the company's anticipated 60 percent growth over the next four years, according to the company. All told, the solar array could save the company $14,000 annually.
The sun that ripens the grapes is also providing power for a growing number of California wineries, including Robert Mondavi vineyards. Sunlight Electric has installed 1,000 200 watt solar panels at Staglin Winery in Napa Valley at a cost of $1 million, reports ABC News. The panels produce almost enough power to meet all the small winery's energy needs. The vineyard hopes to recover the cost of the panels within 15 years through a combination of savings on electricity costs, state subsidies, federal tax breaks, and cash incentives from Pacific Gas & Electric.
In the end [Honig] says it's more about the legacy of what he leaves behind that matters.
"We all have to do our part, and this was something I could do to alleviate some of the pressures on the electric grid. And that's something that's important to me -- to change what we can change, because this is a legacy, not only for Honig, but as a society."
Oftentimes, a winery's decision to go solar leads it to evaluate its resources on a broader scale. "After talking to other wineries that have gone solar, we decided we wanted to be a member of that group, not unlike those who now drive hybrid cars," said Jay Schuppert, president of Napa Valley's Cuvaison Estate Wines (60,000 cases). He said their solar install galvanized them to review all of their practices and their use of energy, water and other resources. Flipping the switch on their new system, noted Schuppert, has already been met with enthusiasm from distributors, trade and consumers.
Havens Wine Cellars, which produces about 18,000 cases of wine annually, recently purchased a 46.5 kW system (installed by Sunlight); they anticipate that it will save them around $14,000 a year. The winery will have a net expense of 26 percent of the project's total cost after rebates and other subsidies. The system will pay for itself in a little over six years and will earn a 17 percent internal rate of return.
"We use quite a bit of electricity at the winery, especially during harvest: cooling the barrel cellar, fermenting musts and running equipment," said Michael Havens, founder of Havens Wine Cellars. "The energy that we once spent thousands of dollars on each month is now being generated on our south-facing roof." The system will reduce the winery's carbon footprint by more than 87,000 pounds of CO2 annually, which is equivalent to the carbon captured annually by 12 acres of forest.
"In addition to organic farming we wanted to add solar power to the equation to reduce our carbon footprint and fewer fossil fuel emissions in generating electricity for the winery," said Brandon Staglin, Staglin Winery.
Cuvaison Estate Wines in Napa is taking advantage of state incentives that will return a full two-thirds of the initial cost over a four-year period. Additionally, those panels will provide a minimum of 95 percent of the winery's electricity – eliminating PG&E bills that were running to $72,000 a year, according to President Jay Schuppert.
"We've been sitting here looking at this hot sun baking us for several years and thinking that instead of just protecting ourselves from this, we should be using it," said [Havens Wine Cellars] founder Michael Havens.
Wineries have been among the leading enterprises in Napa County in tapping into solar power.
In September, Cuvaison Estate Wines fired up a solar power system to handle nearly all of the winery’s energy needs. Cuvaison President Jay Schuppert said the move would save the winery $51,000 in annual electricity costs.
Cover Story: Sensible Solar: Why small wineries invest in sustainable energy
Keenan--set on a 100-year-old, thickly forested property purchased by Michael Keenan's late father, Robert, in 1974--was not built with solar in mind, and the winery faced special challenges. Keenan interviewed two vendors, and chose San Francisco's Sunlight Electric (sunlightelectric.com), in large part because of its unique proposal to mount 10 panels each on 29 poles at the end of vine rows. Inverters, which convert DC to AC power, are located on every fourth pole, Keenan explained, a crucial consideration, since DC current rapidly loses strength the farther it travels.
"We wanted to generate our own power; not use so much fossil fuel, and devote more of our resources to making great wine," Brandon Staglin said. Upon Honig's recommendation, Sunlight Electric was chosen to install a system that will accommodate expected growth over the next five years. With 30% extra capacity, Staglin's first monthly power bill zeroed out, supplying more energy than needed for the winery's current production.
Cuvaison Estate Wines in Calistoga, California is adopting solar power to supply all of its energy needs.
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A Little Pinot Noir with a PV Chaser
The new system at Cuvaison Estate Wines in Calistoga is designed to generate savings of more than $51,000 per year in electricity costs. Cuvaison's solar power installation will generate 95% of the winery's electricity needs, reducing its carbon footprint by more than 360,000 pounds of CO2 each year, equivalent to the carbon captured annually by 50 acres of forest.
Meanwhile, the south-facing roof of Havens Wine Cellars in Napa is home to a new 46.5 kW solar-power system. The solar power system was also designed and installed by San Francisco-based Sunlight Electric. After rebates and other subsidies, the winery states that its net expense will be 26% of the project's total cost, adding the system will pay for itself in a little over six years with a 17% internal rate of return.
Beverage Media Magazine
Cover Story: A Greener Vision: Wine & Spirit Companies Implement Environmentally Friendly Business Practices
Havens said that, in addition to making business sense, supporting the winery’s growth with renewable energy gives him and his staff a good feeling. “We’re saving money and being good global citizens at the same time. How great is that?”
The solar power system, designed and installed by San Francisco-based Sunlight Electric, will reduce the winery’s carbon footprint by more than 87,000 pounds of CO2 annually, equivalent to the carbon captured annually by 12 acres of forest.
Concern for the environment and jumbo PG&E bills prompted Saintsbury to invest more than a half a million dollars in the solar project.
"We have a $30,000 to $40,000 utility bill every year. That's doing everything from pumping water out of the well to running the equipment that we use, says Dick Graves, president of Saintsbury Winery.
During the day when the solar panels collect the most sunlight and the winery is in full operation, the panels provide all the power Saintsbury needs.
"The whole agricultural sector is looking at its climate impact," said Graves.
Wine Briefs: Cuvaison turns to solar for its power
Cuvaison Estate Wines has flipped the switch on a solar power system that will supply virtually all of the winery’s energy needs, marking the latest phase in the winery’s program to reduce its environmental footprint and expand its sustainable farming and business practices
Cuvaison President Jay Schuppert sees the adoption of solar power as an opportunity to join other wineries in leading the industry toward more environmentally responsible practices. According to Sunlight Electric, the San Francisco-based solar developer that designed Cuvaison’s solar power system and managed its installation, Napa County wineries have adopted solar power at a rate 42 times greater than California business overall.
Business Briefs: Havens installs solar power system
Havens Wine Cellars’ new solar-power system will fuel the company’s anticipated 60 percent growth over the next four years, while saving the company as much as $14,000 per year.
“We use quite a bit of electricity at the winery, especially during harvest — cooling the barrel cellar, fermenting musts and running equipment,” said Michael Havens. “The energy that we once spent thousands of dollars on each month is now being generated on our south-facing roof.”
The south-facing roof of Havens Wine Cellars in Napa, Calif., is home to a new 46.5 kW solar-power system.
The solar power system was designed and installed by San Francisco-based Sunlight Electric. After rebates and other subsidies, the winery states that its net expense will be 26% of the project's total cost, adding the system will pay for itself in a little over six years with a 17% internal rate of return.
"The real highlight was the moment when the inverters were turned on and we all watched the meter start to spin backwards," says Michael Havens, the winery’s owner. "That's a blast."
Winemakers in Napa and elsewhere are bottling sunshine in more ways than one this year.
"What was amazing about the solar power option was that it allowed us to fulfill all of the responsibilities we have, to sustainable farming, to our customers, to our community, and to our business," said owner Michael Keenan. "It was a surprisingly compelling business investment at the same time."