Napa Valley Winery Installs Microgrid
Raise a glass to sustainability! Alpha Omega, a family-owned winery in the Rutherford Bench area of California’s Napa Valley, has placed into operation a microgrid system featuring 400 kW of solar and 580 kWh of battery energy storage.
Alpha Omega says the solar power system is designed to supply nearly 100% of the winery’s energy needs, and the five arrays were architecturally designed to serve as shade structures for parking and winery equipment. The new microgrid system also features Aquion Energy Inc. saltwater energy storage batteries.
“We were able to negotiate a lease using the attributable tax benefits to build a system where the lease costs are less than what our utility costs were,” says Alpha Omega proprietor Robin Baggett. “As such, after seven years, the lease will be retired and the system totally paid for at no net cost to us. Besides doing something good for our environment, the economics of this project also made tremendous sense. No one ever likes to talk about money, but we’re willing to share what we’ve done and our costs in hopes that more people will follow suit.”
According to Alpha Omega, the multimillion-dollar microgrid system has already drastically reduced the winery’s average monthly utility bill from $15,000 to $1,000.
As the project developer, Blue Sky Utility compiled the financing structure and the microgrid solution in conjunction with engineering, procurement and construction company Bpi, which selected Massachusetts-based Aquion Energy and New Jersey-based inverter company Princeton Power as equipment providers for the microgrid system.
“What’s equally important is we are making use of batteries and an inverter made in America,” adds Baggett.
With the planned addition of electric vehicle charging stations, Alpha Omega says it continues to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and set the pace when it comes to embracing renewable solutions.
Two NBA Arenas Add Rooftop Solar
The home arenas of National Basketball Association (NBA) teams the Sacramento Kings and the Utah Jazz have both recently added rooftop solar.
SPI Solar Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SPI Energy Co. Ltd., has completed a 700 kW rooftop solar project at the Golden 1 Center in partnership with AES Distributed Energy Inc., a subsidiary of the AES Corp. Located in Sacramento, Calif., the facility is the new home of the Sacramento Kings. Notably, the Golden 1 Center is receiving some power from the recently completed 11 MW Rancho Seco Solar Power Plant under a deal with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
According to Xiaofeng Peng, chairman and CEO of SPI Energy, the basketball center has become “the first indoor arena in the world to be fully powered by solar energy.”
Separately, more than 2,700 rooftop solar panels have been installed at Vivint Smart Home Arena, a sports and entertainment venue located in downtown Salt Lake City and home of the Utah Jazz. Vivint Solar, a residential solar provider and sister company of Vivint Smart Home, says the solar project covers more than 80,000 square feet on the arena rooftop and generates nearly 700 kW of energy.
The solar installation is one of the initial upgrades made as part of an ongoing $125 million renovation by the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies of Vivint Smart Home Arena. According to Vivint Solar, the new system is the equivalent to completely offsetting the electricity for 100 homes per year or powering approximately 89 home games for the Utah Jazz.
“Working with the Larry H. Miller Group to make Vivint Smart Home Arena a solar-powered venue is an exciting accomplishment,” says Vivint Solar CEO David Bywater. “We hope it encourages other venues to choose clean, renewable energy as a major source of electrical power.”
Construction Wraps Up On Midwest Solar Giant
Partners have celebrated construction completion of what they are touting as the largest single solar facility in the Midwest and one of the largest in the U.S. Featuring more than 440,000 solar panels spanning 1,000 acres in Chisago County, Minn., the 100 MW North Star Solar project is expected to come online in December and produce enough energy to power more than 20,000 homes.
According to an Xcel Energy press release, Swinerton Renewable Energy built the $180 million facility and employed more than 300 people during peak construction. The two companies joined project partners Chisago County, D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments LLC (DESRI) and Community Energy Solar in marking the end of construction.
“This facility brings real economic value to our community and the people who live here,” says Mike Robinson, Chisago County commissioner. “The construction of North Star created many jobs, and the local area is expected to receive about $350,000 of production and property tax revenues each year from the project.”
Originally developed by Community Energy Solar, the property is now managed by an affiliate of DESRI. Xcel Energy will purchase power from North Star as part of a 25-year deal to provide solar energy to customers across the Upper Midwest. Additionally, the electricity generated at North Star will help power the Minnesota State Capitol Complex through Xcel Energy’s Renewable*Connect Government Pilot Program, if approved by the Public Utilities Commission.
“We’re pleased the largest solar project in the Midwest will deliver the clean, renewable energy our customers want,” says Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy – Minnesota. “We are on a path that more than doubles wind and solar energy options, and the North Star project plays a role in our goal to be 63 percent carbon-free by 2030.”
Smarties Candy Co. Is Sweet On Solar
Ce De Candy Inc. (dba Smarties Candy Co.), maker of the iconic Smarties candy, and Dynamic Energy Solutions LLC, a turnkey solar project builder, have completed construction on a 674 kW solar project on the roof of Smarties’ Union, N.J., facility. The project will be supported by the New Jersey solar renewable energy credit incentive program.
“This project will help Smarties to operate more sustainably. With over 2,100 solar panels on our roof, we expect to generate nearly half of our candy factory’s energy usage from the sun. New Jersey has been very supportive of solar, making the economics attractive, as well,” says Liz Dee, executive vice president of Smarties Candy Co. and granddaughter of founder Edward Dee, who founded the company in 1949.
“Dynamic Energy congratulates the Smarties team on the completion of this exciting solar project. We were thrilled to help Smarties advance their sustainable efforts and build a cleaner future for the state of New Jersey and us all,” says Mike Perillo, CEO of Dynamic.