The 272-kilowatt installation, which supplies renewable heat and electricity to support the companys winery operations, is said to be the first commercial-scale installation of its kind, combining photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies in one solar array.
According to Cogenra, the system employs 15 individual Cogenra SunBase modules to displace approximately 64,000 kilowatt-hours and 12,500 therms of natural gas annually. It adds that the solar thermal element will heat water to 165°F to sustainably fuel Sonoma Wine Companys wine tank wash and wine barrel washing system.
It is hoped the system will eventually eliminate more than 120 metric tons per year of greenhouse gases.
"This is a very significant milestone for Cogenra as we bring our first project online in Californias wine country and toast to a bright future with solar cogeneration," commented Cogenra CEO Dr. Gilad Almogy. "Cogenras technology merges the best photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies to meet two valuable industrial needs, low cost heat and electricity. Our solution produces five times more energy and three times the greenhouse gas reductions over traditional solar offerings."
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures were among the guests at the opening ceremony to flip the switch on the installation.
Blair stated: "Technological innovation is the key to mitigating climate change; though clean technologies must make economic sense. Because Cogenra has achieved a cost-effective approach, the environmental benefits of solar cogeneration have the potential for true global impact.
"Its up to companies that are both visionary and savvy, like Cogenra, to set us on the right path to decrease our use of fossil fuels and build a more sustainable future."