Cogenra Solar, a provider of distributed solar cogeneration systems today announced its first dairy solar cogeneration system at the Clover Stornetta Farms Dairy Processing Plant in Petaluma, CA. The solar cogeneration system is the company’s latest renewable energy initiative and will not only reduce Clover’s greenhouse gas emissions, but will also result in more than 50% energy savings at the plant.
Cogenra array in operation on Clover rooftop. (Photo: Business Wire)
As a considerable contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting for approximately 2 percent of all emissions1, the dairy industry is taking steps to reduce its environmental impact. Part of these efforts includes a voluntary commitment to reduce GHG emissions of fluid milk by 25 percent by 20202.
Clover Stornetta is leading the way with their sustainable farming practices, energy efficiency and conservation improvements, and most recently with Cogenra’s solar cogeneration installation which combines solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation with solar hot water (SHW) production. The installation will decrease Clover’s GHG emissions by 32 metric tons each year, equivalent to removing 3,500 gallons of gasoline and saving 800 trees annually. These efforts have reduced the company’s carbon footprint while driving in concrete, financial savings on energy costs.
“Not only do we provide our consumers with the highest quality dairy, all products are produced sustainably, with respect for the animals and the environment. And with the latest addition of the solar cogeneration system we are now saving money on our energy bills. It’s a win-win for us—and our customers,” said Marcus Benedetti, President and CEO at Clover Stornetta.
The rooftop array was completed by Cogenra and OneSun, a local expert in solar PV and solar thermal installations, in just a few weeks and now takes up less than 1,500 square feet atop Clover’s Dairy Processing Plant. Commissioned in June 2012, the 50.6 kilowatt, 20-module solar cogeneration system provides renewable electricity and 6,000 gallons of solar hot water daily for the Clean-in-Place (CIP) process at the plant. The system offsets about 50% of the plant’s energy used for the wastewater heating process, displacing approximately 11,500 kilowatt hours and 2,300 therms annually.
The solar cogeneration modules pre-heat water to 145 F, for Clover’s steam-fed CIP process, during which wastewater is pumped continuously through three wastewater filters that are periodically backflushed with cold and hot water. The Cogenra system pre-heats the water, which is then injected with steam in order to reach the CIP temperatures required.
The array was integrated seamlessly into Clover’s existing natural gas water heaters and electrical equipment, and remote monitoring and diagnostics provide real-time status on the system’s energy performance.
“The dairy industry is making great strides to reduce its environmental impact, and companies like Clover are leading the way,” said Gilad Almogy, CEO of Cogenra Solar. “Like many other industries, such as hospitality, multi-family, and healthcare, dairy needs large amounts of hot water every day to handle wastewater. Solar cogeneration provides a cost-effective way to do so and companies such as Clover are recognizing that they can embrace renewable energy while saving money.”
Solar cogeneration helps dairy plants achieve industry environmental goals, by providing greater GHG emission reductions: almost 3 times more than stand-alone photovoltaics and almost twice as much as solar hot water systems. The dual production of electricity and hot water also means that companies see a payback of less than five years, much quicker than PV or SHW.
1 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment Progress Report. December 2010.
2 Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. 2011.
Clover Stornetta Farms is a three-generation family-owned and operated dairy located in Petaluma, California. For years Clover has been a pioneer in the dairy industry with regard to sustainability efforts. Clover was the first dairy in the nation to be certified by the American Humane Association for its humane treatment of animals and was the first dairy West of the Mississippi to offer milk free of the growth hormone rBST. Clover focuses strongly on sustainability and the humane treatment of animals so you can enjoy Clover dairy products in good conscience and good health.
Cogenra Solar is a distributed solar cogeneration company that combines photovoltaic electricity production and heat collection to deliver low cost heat, cooling and electricity 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, offering five times the energy, three times the greenhouse gas reduction and twice the savings of traditional PV. Cogenra is located in Mountain View, California. Please visit cogenra.com for more information.
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