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$40 million solar and battery project planned at Sonoma baylands hunting club

The owners of a hunting club off Highway 37 near Sonoma Raceway have inked a deal for what’s hoped to be a $40 million solar and battery array that would help supply North Bay homes and businesses.

Sonoma Clean Power this month inked a power purchase agreement with San Diego-based Luminia to build a 11.6-megawatt photovoltaic system with 32 megawatt-hours of lithium-ion battery backup on 75 acres of Wing & Barrel Ranch at 6600 Noble Road. It would connect to the grid via a nearby substation.

The project is envisioned to go online in the second half of next year, according to the Thursday announcement. Proponents have yet to submit a formal application but have been in talks with Permit Sonoma officials about what would be required, including a zoning change and environmental review, according to Bradley Dunn, policy manager for the department.

“It’s very early in the process,” Dunn said.

The goal of utility-scale battery energy storage systems, or BESS, is to capture excess solar power during peak daylight hours then discharge it to the grid in the high-demand evening hours. BESSes are typically sized to discharge over four or eight hours, so the 32 megawatt-hours could supply up to 8,000 homes for four hours, based on U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates of residential consumption in the West.

Luminia, which helps finance and implement renewable energy and efficiency projects at commercial properties, is working with Kenwood Investments LLC to complete the project, according to the news release. Behind Kenwood Investments is Darius Anderson, also co-founder and CEO of Wing & Barrell Ranch as well as an owner of Sonoma Media Investments, whose holdings include North Bay Business Journal and The Press Democrat.

Sonoma Clean Power is a Santa Rosa-based non-for-profit community choice aggregation public agency that supplies Sonoma and Mendocino counties with 49% renewable and 93% carbon-free electricity via Pacific Gas & Electric lines. The proposed new system would supply Sonoma Clean Power’s EverGreen program, which offers customers an upgrade to 100% renewable local power sources for another 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

A similar utility-scale battery project is in the works in Petaluma to supply Sonoma Clean Power.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Before coming to the Business Journal in 1999, he wrote for Bay City News Service in San Francisco. Reach him at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4256.

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