20 Nov One year anniversary for Sierra Starr Winery’s solar array
Phil, Anne and Jackson Starr owners of Sierra Starr Winery pictured at their end of the year sparking wine event
Phil Starr is a big fan of solar. Starr is owner, along with his wife Anne and son Jackson, of Sierra Starr Winery.
“We’ve had solar at the vineyard and winery for just about a year longer than downtown,” he said.
And it’s been just about a year since Starr called on California Solar Electric Company (Cal Solar) to install the commercial solar array at the downtown Grass Valley tasting room.
“It was a business and a conscious decision,” Starr said. “I’ve always kind of felt mistreated with the price we pay for energy. It’s very difficult to cut the cord, so-to-speak. I looked into wind as well, not so much for downtown, but I don’t think it was quite enough. The best option was to have solar at both locations.”
Starr has four meters at the vineyard and winery, that includes the well and house. “The first year we owed $881 for the year with solar,” he said. “It would have been between $13,000 and $17,000 without it.”
Starr is looking forward to the end of November, the one-year anniversary of the solar installation at the tasting room.
“We’ll know we sized it correctly based on our usage,” he said. “We expect we won’t owe PG&E any money. If the system is too large, PG&E pays us a little.” Starr reiterated that sizing the installation is important. And he is confident in the expertise of the Cal Solar staff.
“I’m very happy with Cal Solar,” he said. “The process was fine, it was relatively painless. They do all the interaction with the city or county. They handle all of those details that tend to be pretty painful for individuals to do.”
Starr also gave high praise to the installation crew.
“The head of the crew: Reid England, was very knowledgeable, a very nice person,” he said. “I’m very happy with the work they did and the interaction. I’m very happy with all the Cal Solar folks.”
Another benefit is that the solar array is not in view from the street. “Customers don’t even know it’s there,” Starr said.
Overall, Starr recommends solar and Cal Solar. “I absolutely would recommend Cal Solar and I have done so.”