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Innovative, Affordable Solar Energy Solution For Vineyards

by Staff Writers
San Francisco CA (SPX)Jun 20, 2006
3 Phases Energy and MMA Renewable Ventures have announced a collaborative effort to develop the largest solar energy vineyard project in the United States at Fetzer Vineyards. MMA Renewable Ventures, a specialist in innovative renewable energy project finance, and 3 Phases Energy, a renewable energy developer and marketer, will deliver the cost-effective solar energy solution.

The 901-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) project will be positioned on the roofs of the bottling facility and Red Wine Barrel Room at Fetzer's Hopland, California winery. Generating 1.1 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity annually, the installation will supply 80 percent of the bottling plant's electricity needs.

by replacing electricity from fossil fuels and other sources with clean energy from the sun, the Fetzer solar array will offset more than 960,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the equivalent of taking approximately 80 cars off the road for a year or planting 130 acres of trees.

"As one of the first and only wineries to purchase 100 percent clean power, Fetzer has a long-standing tradition of pioneering environmentally sound business practices," said Steve Dorfman, Chief Winery Officer for Brown-Forman. "Building one of the largest solar energy arrays in the country as a green power solution is perfectly in line with Fetzer's business objectives and commitment to sustainability."

Dorfman also noted the project is tangible proof of the winery's search for meaningful ways to positively impact the potential problems associated with global warming. "I commend Fetzer for being the first major winery in the country to use 100 percent clean power," said Mindy S. Lubber, president of CERES, a coalition of investors and environmental groups that works with companies on sustainability issues.

"This action sends a clear signal that cost-effective energy solutions are available that can benefit companies and the global environment at the same time."

The Fetzer solar energy system marks the first project to be financed through MMA Renewable Ventures' solar fund, a vehicle for institutional investment in renewable energy projects nationwide. Deploying the proceeds through its proprietary third-party financing model, MMA Renewable Ventures works with solar energy developers such as 3 Phases Energy to offer customers predictably priced clean energy while avoiding the costs of installation and ongoing system maintenance.

MMA Renewable Ventures will finance, operate, and maintain the generation facility and sell the power to Fetzer under the terms of a Solar Services Agreement (SSA) that sets the electricity costs at a fixed rate. Construction will begin in late July, with completion in October.

"We have had great success collaborating with key solar industry players to provide solar energy services to their customers, companies that do not want to be in the energy business to gain access to clean, predictable power," said Matt Cheney, CEO of MMA Renewable Ventures.

"The value proposition is so great that I believe the model we're seeing Fetzer put into action today represents the future of solar energy deployment in the corporate community as well as the public sector where it puts previously inaccessible tax incentives into play."

3 Phases Energy, as both a project developer and green power marketer, has helped Fetzer achieve its renewable energy goals since 2002, providing both green power and renewable energy certificates to Fetzer's Hopland facility. 3 Phases Energy's development of this large solar array will enable Fetzer to produce the majority of its power onsite.

This represents the first project commissioned under 3 Phases Energy's Daylight Savings service, a solar energy development vehicle, enabled by third party capital and efficient management of the renewable energy credits (RECs), to secure 100 percent renewable energy for customers at an affordable, long term price.

"This commitment for a 901 kW solar installation represents a milestone that we are proud to achieve with an outstanding long-term client like Fetzer," said Tim Derrick, Director of 3 Phases Energy's Green Onsite Division.

"Through our cooperation with leading finance companies like MMA Renewable Ventures, customers can demonstrate their commitment to both renewable energy and smart business by securing a lasting, stable energy source without having to shoulder the upfront capital costs."

3 Phases Daylight Savings program and MMA Renewable Ventures' third-party financing model present ideal clean energy solutions for organizations with large facilities and substantial electricity needs including, schools, factories, business parks, wineries, warehouses, airports and municipal sites.

Related Links
MMA Renewable Ventures
3 Phases Energy

Northwestern Team Develops MRI For Fuel Cells
Evanston IL (SPX) Jun 20, 2006
As gasoline prices top $3 a gallon in major cities, the drive toward increasing energy efficiency and reducing air pollution has accelerated, and the development of fuel cells has become a major focus worldwide.

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