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Location: 4611 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa (the BoDean Mark West Quarry)

Owner/Developer: BoDean Company

Description: Conversion of the quarry’s power source to utilize 100 percent solar energy by installing 3,444 solar panels generating 1.165 megawatts of green energy

General Contractor: Stellar Energy GP

Construction Staking: Green Valley Consulting Engineers

Earth Anchor Provider: Terrafix Solar Park

Erosion Control: Caves Unlimited

Drilling: Les Petersen Drilling & Pumping

Electrical Contractors: Vince Sigal Electric and Napa Electric

Project Cost: $3.7 million

SANTA ROSA -- With the largest solar powered rock quarry in the western United States, and the first all solar facility of its kind in the industry, the BoDean Company has taken the use of photovoltaic cells and sustainability to the next level at its Mark West quarry.

BoDean, an aggregate and asphalt supplier, installed 3,444 solar panels on a steep, south-southwest facing slope that generate a total of 1.165 megawatts of green electricity annually at its quarry located at 4611 Porter Creek Road in Santa Rosa.

This clean energy offsets the release of some 1,844,521 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of driving almost 2.5 million miles in an average car.

In other words, to offset this level of yearly emissions would require the planting of 5,592 trees per year and would be equal to the annual energy consumption of 160 residential homes in the U.S.

“Historically, BoDean has averaged about $25,000 per month in PG&E electricity costs to power four rock crushers, screens, conveyors and pumps at our Mark West quarry,” said Bill Williams, operations manager for BoDean.

“Even with energy costs continuing to rise, our expectation is that this solar system will pay for itself in seven years.”

The company estimates that over a 12-month period it will consume as much energy as is produced by its solar system, even with daylight differences, meaning that solar energy will be virtually free. 

Completed at a cost of $3.7 million, the solar conversion process began in November 2010.  Much of this sum was offset by a $1.1 million federal grant, tax credits and allowances plus rebates offered through PG&E.  The company also earned a rebate of $519,781 in California Solar Initiative funds.

Stellar Energy, GP was the general contractor for this project. Green Valley Consulting Engineers was retained by Stellar to provide precise construction location staking for 864 Terrafix Solar Park earth screws used to anchor the solar panel rack system to the steep quarry terrain.

The almost vertical rock mining site posed intriguing challenges since Terrafix employees had to work on a 1:1 or 2:1 angle slope requiring special terrain screw mounting systems and shotcrete provided by Caves Unlimited to ensure erosion control.

Other key contractors on this project included Vince Sigal Electric, Napa Valley Electric and Les Petersen Drilling & Pump.    

To meet a tight installation schedule, the project team working with Green Valley decided to employ “quick stakes,” which are lighter and faster to place than traditional lath stakes, saving one third of the time.

“Today people want to align themselves with firms that are green. BoDean is commissioning a study by an independent third party organization in the East Bay to determine if our customers can garner LEED credit by using BoDean products made with 100 percent sustainable energy,” Mr. Williams said.

“This four-month data examination process will compare the footprint of our quarry with and without solar, as well as involve a lifecycle assessment of the recycling value of our products, and could result in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) from the U.S. Green Building Council.”

According to Mr. Williams, such a declaration could potentially attract contractors that would come to BoDean to obtain these credits. He said the company is already seeing positive impact of its clean energy commitment on the firm’s business model.