Long Meadow Ranch completes combined 60kW solar panel system installation

Long Meadow Ranch, an organic farming operation in St. Helena, Calif., recently completed installation of a combined 60kW solar power system that will eliminate 100% of its annual electricity costs. The 50kW and 10kW systems were installed by California-based Sun Power & Geothermal Energy Co. and designed to operate in parallel with the utility grid.

The 50kW commercial system employs a 5,100-sq.-ft solar panel array, which is completely hidden from view about half a mile from the main winery building. It provides electricity for all winery and olive oil operations, administrative functions, shops, barns, water systems, and the foreman’s residence. The 10kW system provides 100% power for the ranch’s main residence and is also completely hidden from view.

The systems are governed by California’s net metering regulations, which state that the public utility must credit renewable energy producers for the electricity produced and sent out to the grid. Solar energy not used by the ranch is automatically sent out to the utility grid, effectively causing the electric meter to run backward. The ranch in turn earns credits for the electricity it produces and is able to tap into those credits at night and during cloudy days.