MEI Renewables pairs with Vintage Wine Estates for new solar and storage project

MEI Renewables

MEI Renewables has begun phase 2 of a contract with Vintage Wine Estates to build a new solar and storage system at their Ray’s Station facility in Hopland, California. The Ray’s Station facility is the largest winery in Mendocino County, California in terms of production volume.

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“Vintage Wine Estates is committed to sustainability, both in our farming and production facilities,” explained Jeff Nicholson, Chief Operational Officer, Vintage Wine Estates. “Every upgrade we make to Ray’s Station, and all our facilities, is planned with sustainability in mind. It’s good for the environment, our community, and our business.”

System details: The project will be constructed in two phases and consist of a relocated 755.2 kilowatt system that was installed by MEI Renewables in 2016 as a ground mount. The balance of the new system will be constructed on an additional 264,404 square feet of warehousing which is being design-built in part by MEI Renewables’ parent company, McDonell Electric. REC Group’s Twin Peaks modules will be mounted on RBI Solar’s RS-VS racking. Yaskawa Solectria inverters paired with Tigo MLPE. Enel X North America will operate the battery storage system to maximize earnings potential and bill savings through demand reduction and peak load shaving.

Through the combination of the solar array and the battery storage system, Vintage Wine Estates will be able to generate and store renewable energy to power its operations when energy costs are highest. The system will enable the Winery to reduce its overall energy demand, thus lowering its energy costs and supporting the local grid. Following heat waves and wildfires during the summer of 2020 that resulted in rolling blackouts, California regulators highlighted the need for more energy flexibility solutions, like solar-plus-storage and demand response, to best support the grid going forward.

Enel X, the Enel Group’s advanced energy services business line, will operate the battery storage system on behalf of Vintage Wine Estates. Like all Enel X storage deployments, the system will utilize Enel X’s Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Optimization Software, DER.OS, and its unique capabilities to maximize the earnings potential of the project across multiple applications, including on bill savings, incentive programs, and grid services.

“California continues to lead the energy transition, with commercial and industrial customers playing a critical role through distributed energy resources,” said Surya Panditi, Head of Enel X North America. “Enel X develops tailored energy solutions that deliver economic and sustainability value, and this project will provide Vintage Wine Estates with significant energy costs savings, while increasing flexibility for the local grid.”

The total system size is 2.23 megawatt direct current PV + 741 kilowatt battery and will utilize Tesla’s new Megapack storage product. The project will be fully operational in mid-2021 and will be the largest solar and storage project in Mendocino County.

“Vintage Wine Estates is our best customer on the electrical side and they entrusted us to select the best equipment for this project,” said Eric McDonell, president of McDonell Electric and MEI Renewables. “Our partnership with Enel X has been crucial to this project’s success.”

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