Spotlight on Sunlight Electric’s innovative distributed inverter design strategy
Find out what Sunlight Electric has been doing since 2007 to give our customers greater reliability, improved uptime, faster service, enhanced monitoring, and faster service to ensure maximum solar performance.
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.
Sunlight Electric of San Francisco designed and managed the installation of the projects at ZD and Honig.
Rob Erlichman: "What's interesting about E2, or Environmental Entrepreneurs, is that it really represents another voice in this discussion. I think on one end of the spectrum people tend to think -- and I actually tend to think -- of the environmental movement as this shrill voice from the left, and [think of] the business community not wanting to do anything, thinking that anything good for the environment can't possibly be good for business. And E2, as part of the Natural Resources Defense Council, we're a bunch of business leaders -- hundreds of business leaders -- that believe that good environmental policy is good economic policy."
Rob Erlichman: "When you think about energy use, the reality is that this is something that affects everyone's lives, and with a finite amount of coal, natural gas and oil, renewable energy must simply be a part of the solution for not just the United States, but every country in the world."
Rob Erlichman: "On a sunny day when our customers generate more power than they can consume, their meter goes backwards and they sell it back. They get full retail price here in California, and guess where it goes? Believe it or not, it goes to their neighbors -- it goes to the closest source of demand. So our customers not only get to do something good for themselves financially; they get to something good for the community and the world at large."
Rob Erlichman and Sunlight Electric Support Climate Change & Wine Seminar in Sonoma
Rob Erlichman started Sunlight Electric in 2002 under the belief that raising the level of innovation, service, and professionalism in the solar industry will help speed the adoption of this important, renewable energy technology. A leader in Northern California in commercial solar power, Sunlight Electric continues to set new standards for innovative system design, creating compelling business cases for solar, and for customer service and accountability.
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.
Rob Erlichman, CEO of Sunlight Electric: "We're already at a place where the lines cross between the cost of solar power and the cost of using conventionally generated electricity. If you're a utility customer and you pay your electric bill for 20 years, what do you have at the end of those 20 years? You have nothing. Your money has literally gone up in smoke. Wouldn't the more attractive alternative be to invest in your own power plant, and at the end of that 20 years, you own something that generates power? Our job is to help our customers understand the economic tradeoffs, illustrate the high cost of doing nothing, and come up with creative solutions that enable them to finance projects that are economically appealing, on day one and for years to come."
"These are businesses committed to sustainability," says Rob Erlichman, Sunlight Electric's founder and CEO. Napa County wineries have adopted solar power 42 times faster than California businesses overall, Erlichman says.
Renewable Energy Strategies from Solar Revolution
in Napa Valley
More than seven percent of wineries in Napa County are now solar-powered -- an adoption rate 42 times greater than California businesses in general and nearly double that of wineries statewide. Predicts Sunlight Electric: By the end of 2010, one in five wineries in Napa County -- nearly triple the current number -- will be solar-powered. "What's especially significant is that most businesses in the U.S. can learn from what's going on here," says Rob Erlichman, CEO of Sunlight Electric.
Beyond wineries, the clean energy explosion in Napa is a learning opportunity for firms looking to gain insulation from rising energy costs. Sixteen states, representing nearly half of the population [of the U.S.], have already initiated solar subsidy programs.
Sunlight Electric leads solar power system installations for Calif.'s sustainable food, beverage operations
SE has installed more solar power systems for the regions wineries than any other company by a factor of two.
"We are driving this trend," Erlichman told Sustainable Food News. And, considering California's sun and high electricity rates, "The interesting question for business owners, [who seek] to control costs and reduce their environmental footprint is 'What's going on in Napa that I can learn from?'"
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.
November 1, 2007
Wineries Going Solar
The leaders in renewable energy use aren't in Silicon Valley, or even San Francisco. They're in Wine Country, says a recent article in the San Francisco Business Times. With an adoption rate far surpassing that of other businesses in the state, wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties are warming up to solar power — and they're taking advantage of the resulting energy savings to hold their ground against encroaching competition and the threat of global warming.
"The rate of adoption of solar (among Napa Valley wineries) is 42 times that of business in general in the state, which is staggering," says Rob Erlichman, chief executive of Sunlight Electric, a San Francisco solar developer.
Erlichman agreed that especially for wineries—which generally have high power usage, clean balance sheets, a greater need for differentiation in their branding, and a higher commitment toward sustainability—cost should rarely be a roadblock. "Solar is remarkably affordable," he said. "What's great is there are now financial options, such as leasing, that allow people to go solar without any out-of-pocket expense, a route that doesn't require you take out a loan or put an asset on your balance sheet."
Sunlight Electric President Rob Erlichman says wineries meet all the criteria for large solar projects. And says Erlichman solar power is a trend at Napa Valley wineries.
"Seven percent of the wineries in Napa have adopted solar power. Compare that to the adoption rate for businesses in the state of California in general, which is 2/10ths of one percent," said Erlichman.
Sunlight Electric President Rob Erlichman: "We see four key trends that are relevant to every business: One is high power usage; two is a clean balance sheet. three is branded and differentiated products;and the fourth is a commitment to sustainability. So this incredible trend that's going on with wineries and solar power really can apply to any business in California."
"We've seen in nearly three years time, the winery industry go from nothing, really, to about seven percent of wineries in Napa Valley are now solar powered," said Rob Erlichman, the president of San Francisco's Sunlight Electric. "I predict that they'll be at nearly three times that in three years time, or about 20 percent."
Cover Story: Sensible Solar: Why small wineries invest in sustainable energy
California does rank No. 1 for solar benefits, according to Erlichman. Ranking U.S. states by solar incidence and electric rates, he said, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Minnesota, Texas and Arizona round out the top 10.
According to Sunlight Electric -- the San Francisco solar developer that designed Cuvaison's system -- the company has installed 1 million watts of capacity to date. It saves the emission of nearly 66 million pounds of global warming carbon dioxide.
Alternative Energy Retailer
A Little Pinot Noir with a PV Chaser
According to Sunlight Electric, the San Francisco-based solar developer that designed Cuvaison's solar power system and managed its installation, Napa Country wineries have adopted solar power at a rate 42 times greater than California business overall.
Beverage Media Magazine
Cover Story: A Greener Vision: Wine & Spirit Companies Implement Environmentally Friendly Business Practices
Vintners bottle sunshine with solar powered harvest
Rob Erlichman, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Sunlight Electric, which has more than a dozen wineries as clients, including Long Meadow and Frog's Leap, estimates there are 28 systems in Napa County and another 14 in next-door Sonoma County.
"This thing has really picked up a head of steam in the last couple of years," he said.