By Bob Smith
Sonoma Police Department, Sonoma, California
Sonoma’s Police Department is now powered by clean energy from the sun. The 62.4 kW solar electric system will offset nearly seventy percent of the annual bill for the Police Department/ Community Meeting room. Excess power will be fed back into the PG&E grid for credit towards future use. The roof-mounted system utilizes 279 U.S.A. manufactured Sharp 224 watt solar panels. The panels cover 4,900 square feet of the south facing roofs, and help shade and protect the building, reducing summer cooling load. The system is expected to generate over 89,000 kilowatt hours annually. All installation was handled by full-service solar contractor, SolarCraft.
Each of the 279 solar modules is controlled by individual micro-inverters manufactured by Enphase Energy of Petaluma, California. The micro-inverters were the solution to a shading issue caused by a telecommunications tower on the south side of the building. Unlike more conventional solar electric systems, the micro-inverters will allow the rest of the solar modules to produce at full capacity no matter how many panels may be shaded, and greatly increase the overall system efficiency.
SolarCraft also installed an Enphase Enlighten monitoring system, providing unprecedented visibility into the performance of each module. Enlighten’s website shows a graphical representation of the solar array, with at-a-glance information of each module’s status. The monitoring system is publicly displayed in the Community Meeting Room lobby.
In 2004, the City of Sonoma contracted with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department to provide law enforcement services. The Sonoma Police Department still provides the same high level of service it always has, and has added several new positions in response the community needs.
Under the direction of Chief of Police, Bret Sackett, the department is staffed by two Sergeants, nine deputies, a School Resource Officer, a Traffic Officer, two Community Service Officers and two administrative positions.
Paramount Farms Inc.
Paramount Farms is a company with a long established history building successful produce brands including Sunkist® California Pistachios, a top seller; and Sunkist® Almond Accents®, the leading flavored, sliced almond topping. Their 28,000 acres of pistachio orchards are the largest in the Western Hemisphere. And in a state famous for its almonds, they are proud to be California’s largest almond grower, with more than 24,000 acres of permanent almond orchards. That’s more than four million trees producing in excess of 30 billion nuts annually.
SolarCraft both designed and built this 1.1 MW solar energy system for Paramount Farms, Inc., the world’s largest vertically integrated supplier of pistachios and almonds, at their Lost Hills, Califonia orchards and processing facility.
The system utilizes ground-mounted, UniSolar® Amorphous thin-film Photovoltaic (PV) panels. Spanning 8 acres, it is one of the largest single site, privately-owned solar energy systems in the U.S.A.
The solar energy system enables Paramount Farms to generate enough clean electricity each day to power 502 average homes. The system will spare the air nearly 885 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually, comparable to planting over 177 acres of trees. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to driving over 61.1 million miles.
Paramount’s goal is to utilize green energy and create predicable energy and costs. Stewardship of the environment has always been a core value of Paramount Farms. Groundbreaking research and development has led the way to pioneering advances in agriculture and orchard management, including the reduction of pesticide use by nearly 50% and water conservation.
SolarCraft is one of the most experienced solar energy contractors in California. For more than 26 years, this certified green business has been providing solar electric, solar pool heating and solar hot water services including consulting, design, installation, monitoring and maintenance. SolarCraft has installed more than 4,300 solar energy systems in California with over 1.3 million square feet of solar collector surface area, saving customers more than US$7 million annually and preventing production of more than 28,000 tons of greenhouse gases every year.
In addition to his position as VP of Sales & Marketing at SolarCraft (solarcraft.com), Robert Smith is a licensed General Building Contractor (B) and a practicing attorney who specializes in construction law, contract obligation, performance bonds, licensing, and certification requirements. Smith began his career after graduating cum laude with a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of San Diego.
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