[caption id="attachment_66546" align="alignright" width="280"] Solar array under construction at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. (Photo credit: Wells Fargo Center for the Arts)[/caption]
SANTA ROSA -- An array of solar photovoltaic panels at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa is expected to provide 90 percent of the facility's electricity needs starting Jan. 1, according to an announcement by the performing arts center.
The system, which features 1,630 solar panels and a 400-kilowatt output, was made possible by a power purchase agreement with the newly formed Nelson Solar Projects LLC. Through the agreement, Nelson Solar Projects will provide capital financing and install the array, and the arts center will purchase that power and pay for the financing to fully own the system by 2023.
The newly formed solar development company is owned by Gary and Marcia Nelson and was created to generate capital funding for the project at the Wells Fargo center. Mr. Nelson is also the founder of the Nelson Family of Companies and Nelson Staffing, and the Nelson family is a major donor to the nonprofit performing arts center.
"We are proud and grateful for the agreement, which will allow Wells Fargo Center for the Arts to become a greener institution and more sustainable as a non-profit organization that serves our community," said Rick Nowlin, the center's executive director.
[caption id="attachment_66547" align="alignleft" width="350"] left to right: Greg Steele, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing at Enphase Energy and member of the WFCA Honorary Board; Gary Nelson, Founder of Nelson Family of Companies and President of Nelson Solar Projects, LLC; Warren Brown, President and CEO of One Sun Solar (Photo credit: Wells Fargo Center for the Arts)[/caption]
The panels will be housed on four rows of sunshade carport structures installed in the center's north parking lot. When fully owned, the system is expected to provide more than $100,000 in energy cost savings for the center per year and offset the facility's annual carbon footprint by 333 metric tons.
One Sun, Inc. of Graton is building the system, with construction oversight by VeriSol Solar Consulting on behalf of Nelson Solar Projects. The system will employ solar microinverters by Enphase Energy of Petaluma, and will be manufactured by Canadian Solar.
The project is the latest benchmark in a series of initiatives for the 31-year-old performing arts center. Those changes include the November unveiling of a new website for the venue, designed to better link visitors to performances and events at the center.