DELANO, CA — Castle Rock Vineyards, here, hosted an open house and
ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Sept. 23, to mark the completion of what
is said to be one of the larger solar electric generating system installations for
an agricultural facility in the nation.
A press release from REC Solar, which built the system, quoted Castle Rock's
owner, Al Good, as saying, "REC Solar and Rabobank (which financed the
project) provided us with a feasible option for making a solid long-term
business that’s consistent with our vision of growing high-quality food using
sustainable practices. The long-term financial incentives and business
benefits outweigh the initial cost of the system. This investment will help us
maintain proper stewardship of the land."
Speaking to attendees prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Ryan Park,
director of agriculture for REC Solar, said that the ground-mounted 1.1
megawatt system covers approximately four acres and utilizes 5,400 Kyocera
210 watt modules, with no moving parts. Approximately 70 percent of the
annual energy requirements of Castle Rock’s grape cooling facility will be
offset by the new system.
The company’s investment will have a four-year payoff, he said. The life of
the system is expected to be more than 40 years, with a guaranteed output of
80 percent of its designed rating at 25 years. The first monitoring of the
system showed it producing 114 percent of its rated capacity.
The technology of solar power generation has now advanced to the point that
it is “commercially viable,” he said.
Solar makes economic sense, environmental sense and strategic sense,” said
Marko Krapels, vice president of commercial products for Rabobank.