Cogenra Solar Expands into Agricultural Market with Rooftop Installation
General Hydroponics strengthens green practices with modular, lightweight solar thermal and PV system
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – July 7, 2011 – Cogenra Solar™, a provider of distributed solar cogeneration systems and renewable energy service solutions, announced today the completion of its solar cogeneration project at General Hydroponics, Inc., a leading manufacturer of indoor agricultural systems and nutrients for producing top-quality crops. Located at the Santa Rosa, California facility, the 75-kilowatt (kW) solar cogeneration installation augments General Hydroponics’ existing large-scale photovoltaic system and magnifies the company’s energy savings with the dual generation of solar-powered hot water and electricity in a single array.
“General Hydroponics Inc., founded in 1976, is the industry leader and inventor of the home hydroponics industry. General Hydroponics is in the business of bringing nature and technology together, and in that vein, takes environmentalism very seriously. Cogenra’s solution is a core element in reaching our sustainability goals, in addition to meeting our longer-term financial objectives,” said Lawrence Brooke, founder and owner of General Hydroponics. “Eight years ago we installed the first commercial three-phase solar electric system on our roof, but until now we hadn’t addressed our significant gas demand for heating water used to make our nutrient blends. Now, with the solar cogeneration array delivering both hot water and electricity, we expect a payback of less than five years, providing a significant return on our investment and protection from future rises in energy costs.”
GH markets its products under the three brands General Hydroponics, General Organics and Alice’s Garden, all requiring the use of heat generated from the Cogenra system to heat water used in producing the complex nutrient blends shipped to flower and vegetable growers worldwide.
The 75kW system, 15kW of electricity and roughly 60kW of thermal energy, comprises 36 Cogenra PVT (photovoltaic-thermal) receivers affixed via a standard solar racking system to the General Hydroponics rooftop. The system will offset about 3,500 therms of the facility’s natural gas usage, offsetting an estimated 60% of annual consumption, while the electric capacity will supplement electricity offset by the company’s existing 101 kW PV system. Installed by Cogenra partner Sun Light & Power, a premier solar design and installation company, the construction period spanned less than three weeks, from ground breaking to completion.
Cogenra’s system is SRCC (Solar Rating and Certification Corporation) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) certified for both thermal and electric rebates, including the California Solar Initiative (CSI), which offers an attractive incentive for solar hot water systems. CSI thermal rebates, currently offered in the first-tier level of $12.82 per therm of displaced gas in year one, strongly complement the CSI photovoltaic rebates, resulting in faster paybacks than traditional solar hot water or solar electric systems alone.
“We’ve been installing solar energy systems for more than three decades and have witnessed first-hand the technologies evolve. We welcome the addition of Cogenra’s highly efficient solar cogeneration solution to the market and its potential to accelerate the adoption of solar in California,” said Gary Gerber, president of Sun Light & Power. “Combined solar hot water and electric systems deliver more total energy and lower long-term energy costs than conventional renewable energy technologies and we believe the installation at General Hydroponics will go a long way in educating our customers on the magnitude of savings and environmental benefits of solar cogeneration.”
“We’re pleased that General Hydroponics recognized the tremendous economic benefit of our combined heat and power technology, which delivers five times the energy of traditional PV and three times the greenhouse gas reduction. With this installation, Cogenra marks its expansion into the agricultural market as part of the rapid commercialization our technology is enjoying,” said Dr. Gilad Almogy, CEO of Cogenra Solar. “We also value Sun Light & Power’s commitment to our solution, as the company is ideally qualified for installing and selling our solar cogeneration solution.”
About Cogenra Solar
Cogenra Solar is a distributed solar cogeneration company that combines photovoltaic electricity production and heat collection to deliver low cost electricity and hot water for commercial, industrial and institutional facilities. Cogenra’s solution enables clean, renewable energy below utility rates while reducing natural gas and grid-fed electricity consumption. Cogenra is located in Mountain View, California. Please visit www.cogenra.com for more information.
About General Hydroponics
General Hydroponics is a leading innovator in the field of hydroponics with factories in North America and Europe. General Hydroponics products are designed to grow nutrient dense plants while reducing environmental impact by providing the precise elements required to grow quickly and efficiently, while reducing required inputs of energy, water, nutrients and labor, creating savvy sustainability. Numerous laboratories and universities throughout the world use GH products for teaching and research; other GH customers use its products for commercial crop production, as well as high-tech gardening. The company’s Sonoma County facilities have over ten acres for testing new crops, hydroponic systems, nutrients and related technologies. On its 223,000 square feet of modern industrial space, the company is perfecting nutrient formulas to enhance flavor and yield plus vitamin and mineral content in food crops for higher nutritional value. Please visit www.generalhydroponics.com for more information.
About Sun Light & Power
Sun Light & Power is a design/build solar firm based in Berkeley, CA with 34 years of leadership in alternative energy systems and innovative designs for homes and businesses. Founded in 1976 by Gary Gerber, the company is committed to creating a living environment that serves people’s intrinsic needs, supports the human spirit and preserves the planet’s resources for future generations. More information is available at www.sunlightandpower.com.