System marks the largest commercial microgrid system for a Napa Valley winery and in the entire PG&E utility service territory
RUTHERFORD, Calif. (October 20, 2016) – Alpha Omega, a family-owned winery in the Rutherford Bench area of Napa Valley, announced today that it has placed into operation a 400 kilowatt (kW) solar and 580 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery microgrid system that includes a first-of-its kind, fully integrated solar and battery facility back-up power system. This groundbreaking microgrid system, which encompasses solar power generation, energy storage and demand management, is the largest commercial microgrid system to date for a Napa Valley winery and in all of Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California, according to renewable energy developer Blue Sky Utility, which handled the project.
Alpha Omega’s five solar power arrays were architecturally designed to serve as shade structures for guest and employee parking and winery equipment. Photo credit: Bob McClenahan
With the addition of electric vehicle charging stations expected later this fall, Alpha Omega, whose land and winery are Napa Green certified, continues to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability and set the pace when it comes to embracing leading-edge renewable solutions.
Alpha Omega’s new microgrid system features Aquion Energy Inc. saltwater batteries, which contain no heavy metals or toxic chemicals and are the only batteries in the world to be Cradle to Cradle Certified™.* Aquion Energy touts its non-flammable, non-explosive, non-hazardous and touch-safe batteries as the safest in the world.
Alpha Omega estimates it will produce 640,500 kWh of clean, solar power and save 960,750 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of planting 2,402 trees. The solar power system is designed to supply nearly 100 percent of the winery’s energy needs, and the five arrays were architecturally designed to serve as shade structures for parking and winery equipment.
The solar structures also include an impressively engineered, cantilevered crush-pad structure to provide shade and weather protection during harvest. It will also provide motion-sensor lighting for those long production days at the winery, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
The multi-million dollar microgrid system has already drastically reduced Alpha Omega’s average monthly PG&E bill from $15,000 to $1,000.
“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,” Alpha Omega proprietor Robin Baggett said. “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.”
He added, “What’s equally important is we are making use of batteries and an inverter made in America.”
As the developer, Blue Sky Utility compiled the financing structure and the microgrid solution in conjunction with BPi, the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction Company, the General Contractor). BPi is the only local commercial EPC in Napa Valley and has installed the greatest number of solar panels on wineries in Napa Valley, according to BPi President Brian Peterson. The 26-year Navy veteran says of Alpha Omega, “This was an exciting project to be proud of. It is somewhat different than submarine power generation but great that we could use American made equipment again.”
BPi selected both Aquion Energy and inverter provider Princeton Power as the optimum American-made equipment providers for this innovative microgrid system.
Baggett is no stranger to solar power. In 2009, the vintner installed solar power systems at Courtside Cellars in San Miguel, Calif., which generated 1.53 MW to handle a 10-acre, custom crush operation he co-founded, and at Tolosa, a San Luis Obispo, Calif., winery he also co-founded.
*Cradle to Cradle certification means that the materials and manufacturing practices of each product are assessed in five categories: Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable Energy Use, Water Stewardship and Social Responsibility.
Alpha Omega’s new microgrid system features Aquion Energy saltwater batteries, which are non-flammable, non-explosive, non-hazardous and touch-safe. Aquion batteries contain no heavy metals or toxic chemicals and are the only batteries in the world to be Cradle to Cradle Certified. Photo credit: Suzanne Becker Bronk
About Alpha Omega
Founded in 2006 by Robin and Michelle Baggett, Alpha Omega was a direct-to-consumer pioneer. Located on Highway 29 in the legendary Rutherford Bench of Napa Valley, Alpha Omega produces world-class, Bordeaux-style, handcrafted wines made with prized grapes from its own vineyards and historic vineyards by Swiss-born winemaker Jean Hoefliger and consulting winemaker Michel Rolland. With its landmark fountains, tranquil pond and stunning views of the Mayacamas Mountains and vineyards, the winery exudes a sense of place and offers hospitality reflective of the farming community. Alpha Omega’s land and winery are Napa Green certified. To learn more, please visit www.aowinery.com
About Blue Sky Utility
Blue Sky Utility is a renewable energy developer providing custom solar solutions for large facilities. Its highly experienced team offers a one-stop-shop to maximize efficiency by providing innovative financing solutions, optimizing structure surfaces, and utilizing the most trusted roofing specialists and contractors in the industry, to offer complete systems, engineered to last. It has installed more than 1 million square feet of combined power in California alone, helping facilities save thousands in utility bills each month. Blue Sky Utility combines extensive engineering knowledge with financial expertise to create custom solar energy solutions that work for each facility’s specific requirements and needs. For more information and a list of clients, visit www.blueskyutility.com.
BPi is a leading EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractor of solar energy installations. Based in California with services nationwide, the company designs, installs and manages advanced photovoltaic systems for large commercial and utility-scale applications. BPi’s main objective is to construct and operate co-generation systems, retaining projects under BPi management for maximum efficiency and profitability. BPi uses premium-grade resources that are proficient with a proven track record. This ensures the long-term, sustainable efficient generation of the co-generation systems and offsets the risk for the system owners. For more information and a list of projects, visit www.bpi-power.com.
About Aquion Energy
Aquion Energy is the manufacturer of proprietary Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI™) batteries and battery systems for long-duration, stationary energy storage applications. Aquion’s Aspen product line is optimized for daily deep cycling for residential solar, green architecture, off-grid and microgrid, telecom towers, energy management, and grid-scale applications. Aquion’s high-performance, safe, sustainable, and cost-effective batteries deliver reliability and value for customers. The company’s battery systems provide flexible, modular energy storage that enables broad adoption of renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar, reduced reliance on fossil fuels, and optimization of existing grid-tied generation assets. For more information, visit www.aquionenergy.com.
About Princeton Power
Princeton Power, based in New Jersey and founded in 2001, designs and manufactures solutions for energy storage, microgrid operations, and electric vehicle charging. The company is a global leader working with customers and partners across North America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. A proprietary ESIQ platform enables the company to solve and provide proven energy storage solutions that facilitate the continued growth of distributed renewable energy. The company proudly manufactures its products in the USA. More information about Princeton Power is available at www.princetonpower.com.