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Sonoma Wine Unveils Solar Cogen Installation

Sonoma Wine Company is now getting heat and electricity from its 272-kilowatt (kW) solar cogeneration system at its winery operations in Graton, California.

Cogenra Solar, the provider and installer of the solar cogeneration system, says the commissioning represents the first commercial-scale installation of its kind, combining photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies in one solar array. It is Cogenra’s first project to be brought online in California’s wine country.

The provider of distributed solar cogeneration systems and services says the combination of photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies produces five times more energy and three times the greenhouse gas reductions compared to traditional solar offerings.

The installation is expected to eliminate more than 120 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually.

The solar cogeneration installation is comprised of 15 individual Cogenra SunBase modules, which displaces approximately 64,000 kilowatt-hours and 12,500 therms of natural gas annually. The solar thermal element will heat water to 165 degrees F to fuel Sonoma Wine Company’s wine tank wash and wine barrel washing system.

Under a fifteen-year Heat and Power Purchase Agreement (HPPA), Cogenra will maintain ownership of the solar cogeneration modules, and Sonoma Wine Company will purchase the heat and electricity generated from the installation at guaranteed energy rates from Cogenra.

In other solar news, United Displaycraft has claimed the largest commercial PV solar panel installation in the state of Illinois. Solar Service installed 650 solar panels at the company’s headquarters in Des Plaines, which will generate 170,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

United Displaycraft expects the solar system to pay for itself in four to five years based on several factors. These include a 30 percent Illinois Solar Grant awarded through the Community Renewable Energy Program, a 30 percent Federal Solar Tax Credit and 85 percent five-year accelerated equipment depreciation.

In addition, the project will earn renewable energy credits (RECs) and deliver over 25 years of electricity at an amortized cost of less than seven cents per kilowatt hour, according to Solar Service.

The system is expected to cut CO2 emissions by 122 tons annually. It also will displace approximately 700 tons of nitric oxide and 1,800 tons of acid rain annually.

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One thought on “Sonoma Wine Unveils Solar Cogen Installation

  1. This is a great move for Sonoma Wine. The electrical demand at wineries and breweries is unimaginable. Almost all of have pumps running around the clock which can raise the electrical expenditure through the roof depending on the location. Also boilers, heaters and chillers which maintain atmospheric temps. Going to Solar can greatly help with that demand when the sun shines. They should also look into Energy Efficiency, which can cut costs 30% more.

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