Come August, SOMO Village will be generating a whopping 3.1 megawatts in solar energy, enough power to supply 50 percent of the development’s energy use,or enough power to supply energy to about 900 homes.
The billion-dollar mixed-use southeast Rohnert Park development is a diverse mix of tenants and properties that consumes about 6 MW of energy annually.
The installation is projected to save $680,000 per year in energy costs and close to $2.5 million over 30 years.
This is the third installment of solar panels at the 200-acre campus, formerly known as Sonoma Mountain Village. Installation began in 2008, and generated 1.15 MW of power. In 2012 another installation provided the development another 1.15 MW of energy. The current installation will provide another 0.8 MW, adding 2,500 panels, for a total of 16,000, by far the largest array in Sonoma County.
With 6,000 solar panels, Lagunitas Brewing Company’s Petaluma plant has the second largest array in Sonoma, with 2.1 MW. That $5 million project is also being installed this summer.
Codding Enterprises, which owns and operates the development, has invested more than $10 million in solar projects over the years with a payback less than five years for each system.
The SOMO project is being executed by REC Solar, based in San Luis Obispo with a satellite location in Petaluma. They also installed the panels in 2012.
SOMO Village originally was built by the Hewlett-Packard group that became Agilent Technologies and now is Santa Rosa-based Keysight Technologies. The property was not set up for a mixed-use development, which has made solar project somewhat complicated, said Chris Hiller, director of project development at REC Solar. A roof had to be replaced, more battery storage added and a second meter for PG&E.
“It’s a complex campus with intensive energy use,” he said.
SOMO was the first project in North America to be named a One Planet Community by BioRegional UK. BioRegional, an entrepreneurial nonprofit, has created a sustainable action plan and works with leading green developments around the world towards achieving 10 best principles and practices for an ecological footprint.