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Thursday, April 5, 2012, 7:02 pm

Jackson lights up large solar cogen array

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    Cogenra array at Kendall-Jackson

    Some of the 96 cogeneration modules Cogenra Solar installed atop a Kendall-Jackson winery in Santa Rosa.

    SANTA ROSA — Jackson Family Wines today unveiled a 241,000-kilowatt-hour solar energy cogeneration array atop the main Kendall-Jackson Kittyhawk winery in Windsor.

    The 96-module system designed and installed by Cogenra Solar and local partner SunWater Solar uses mirrors and a sun-tracking system to direct sunlight to combined photovoltaic and solar-thermal system, according to Robert Boller, Jackson Family Wines head of sustainability efforts. Up to 85 percent of sun energy is lost from photovoltaic panels as heat.

    The captured heat warms groundwater from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees. The water then goes to a boiler and heated to 160 degrees for use in sanitation. The solar cogeneration system provides up to 60 percent of the building’s hot water needs, with the electricity powering lighting and cooling

    On hand for the unveiling today were Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and Katie Jackson, daughter of proprietor Barbara Banke and late company founder Jess Jackson.

    Cogenra will be installing two more cogeneration systems and Jackson wineries in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley (Vinwood) and in Monterey County on the Central Coast.

    The wine company claims the projects will make it the largest user of solar cogeneration in the U.S.

    Mr. Boller said that this project is one of several sustainability projects the company has been undertaking. The company has been purchasing renewable energy certificates for some operations since 2008. Last year, the company bought certificates equal to 130 percent of annual energy usage and took arguably a unique step by including in that the the home energy use of the business’ 1,000 employees.

    When you add up the energy savings and renewable energy totals we’re conserving an amount equal to almost 6,300 homes annual usage or green house gas emissions from over 3 million gallons of gasoline – that’s equal to 27,000 tons of CO2.

    Jackson Family Enterprises is No. 32 among U.S. organizations in buying at more than 100 percent renewable energy. Last year, the company was one of 19 to receive a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Power Leadership Award.

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