This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 30, 2005

California Wine Co-op to Install Two Large Solar Power Systems

PowerLight Corporation announced on March 21st that it will install 424 kilowatts of solar power at the Northern California facilities of the Wine Service Co-Operative, a leading wine storage and distribution center. The project will consist of a 195-kilowatt system and a 229-kilowatt system installed atop the Wine Co-op's St. Helena and South Napa facilities in the Napa Valley. The solar arrays, combined with energy efficiency measures, should provide nearly 100 percent of the facilities' annual energy needs, substantially reducing operating costs. The project is scheduled for completion this summer. See the PowerLight press release.

Meanwhile in Southern California, a long-running dispute over a much smaller solar power system was finally resolved in early March. Akeena Solar has been trying to install a solar electric system on its roof since 2002, but the Town of Los Gatos, where the company is located, would not approve the system because of concerns about the visual impacts of some of the solar modules. While a lawsuit was pending, Akeena worked to update the state's Solar Rights Act so that it would apply to municipalities, and the updated act was signed into law in September 2004. With the new law in place, the company applied for a permit to build an expanded 6-kilowatt system in January, won building approval in February, built the system, then earned final approval from the town in early March. See Akeena Solar's press release and its related Web page.