Frito-Lay, Castle Rock Vineyards, Salk Institute Add Solar in CA

by | Sep 24, 2010

California’s solar portfolio continues to grow with the latest solar power systems installations at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay Modesto manufacturing facility, Castle Rock Vineyards in Central Valley, and the Salk Institute of Biological Sciences’ campus.

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay North America Modesto manufacturing facility has installed a cylindrical solar photovoltaic (PV) system on its rooftop. The system, consisting of about 5600 panels that covers 247,000 square feet, has an installed capacity of one megawatt, which at peak production will reduce the plant’s electricity use from outside sources by 25 percent. It also reduces CO2 emissions by 1,000 metric tons per year.

This one-megawatt system is claimed as the largest Solyndra installation in the United States. The project was completed in eight weeks.

The system was installed with the support of Panelized Structures, a Solyndra Certified Solutions Provider and Pacific Solar Energy.

The rooftop PV system is the second solar project at the Modesto facility. In 2008, the facility installed a five-acre solar concentrator field made up of 54,000 square feet of concave mirrors. The solar energy captured by the 384 solar collectors is used to generate steam that helps heat the cooking oil used in the SunChips manufacturing process.

Since 2000, the facility’s resource conservation program has reduced its use of electricity by 19 percent, natural gas consumption by 30 percent and water by 44 percent per pound of produced product.

In July, the Modesto plant achieved LEED Existing Buildings Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

In California’s Central Valley, Castle Rock Vineyards has installed a 1.134-MW solar energy system. The installation is expected to have a yearly production output of 1,761,971 kilowatt hours, offsetting the vineyard’s’ energy use by 69 percent.

The solar electric generating system, designed and installed by REC Solar, consists of 5,400 Kyocera KD210GX-LPU high-output 210-watt modules. The ground-mount system is claimed as one of the largest agricultural solar arrays.

California wineries have been ramping up their solar power installations over the past few years. As an example, Constellation Wines U.S. recently claimed to have the largest solar footprint in the U.S. wind industry, with its announcement to invest in three new solar energy installations across California at its Clos du Bois winery in Geyserville, Ravenswood winery in Sonoma, and Estancia winery in Monterey County.

The Salk Institute of Biological Sciences has selected Stellar Solar to design and install a new 500-kW rooftop solar electric system for its architecturally renowned campus in La Jolla. The institute says the buildings were completed in 1965 and officially designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991.

The institute expects to pay 30 percent less in electricity costs by producing its own solar electricity onsite.

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