MEI Renewables to build new solar and storage project

Enel X North America will operate the battery storage system to maximize earnings potential, including bill savings.

Hopland, Calif. and Boston, Mass. – MEI Renewables, Inc. has begun phase 2 of a contract with Vintage Wine Estates, Inc. 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.

“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.” 

The project, to be constructed in two phases, will consist of a relocated 755.2kW system that was installed by MEI Renewables in 2016 as a ground mount, along with the balance of the new system to be constructed on an additional 264,404 Sf of warehousing which is being design-built in part by MEI Renewables’ parent company, McDonell Electric, Inc.  The system will utilize REC Group’s Twin Peaks modules 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 2.23MWdc PV + 741kW battery and will utilize Tesla’s new Megapack storage product, and once fully operational, the project will be the largest solar + storage project in Mendocino County. The system is planned to be fully operational in mid-2021.  “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.”

About Vintage Wine Estates

Vintage Wine Estates is a dynamic, fast-growing privately held wine company founded by a group of vintner families with deep roots in the wine business. VWE owns a prestige collection of winery estates and brands spanning the most significant winegrowing regions: Napa, Sonoma, California’s Central Coast, Washington State and Oregon. Labels include Clos Pegase, Girard, Delectus, Swanson, Cosentino, Cherry Pie, B.R. Cohn, Firesteed, Tamarack, Owen Roe, Laetitia, Qupé, Layer Cake and an extensive portfolio of lifestyle and exclusive wine brands. VWE also produces the luxury spirits marques from the Splinter Group and No 209 Gin. Committed to sustainability and an industry leader across all sales channels, VWE provides wine and spirits consumers with a range of choices from $10 to $150.

About MEI Renewables

MEI Renewables is a privately held full-service EPC based in Santa Rosa, California.  MEI Renewables focuses on the Commercial & Industrial solar markets throughout Northern California. MEI also provides O&M services, 3rd party installations, and commissioning services for other EPCs throughout California.

About Enel X

Enel X is Enel's global business line dedicated to the development of innovative products and digital solutions in sectors where energy is showing the greatest potential for transformation: cities, homes, industries and electric mobility. The company is a global leader in the advanced energy solution sector, with more than 6.3 GW of demand response capacity, 110 MW of installed storage capacity, more than 90,000 utility bills managed across 104 countries, and around 130,000 public and private EV charging stations available around the world. 

In North America, Enel X has around 4,500 business customers, spanning more than 35,000 sites and representing approximately $10.5B in energy spend under management. Enel X North America has approximately 4.7 GW of demand response capacity, over 70 battery storage projects that are operational and under contract, and more than 60,000 smart EV charging stations. Enel X advises large energy users on energy procurement, sustainability, and risk management, and has completed 65,000 energy procurement events including 2,000 MW of long-term renewable energy contracts. The company’s intelligent DER Optimization Software is designed to analyze real-time energy and utility bill data, improve performance, and manage distributed energy assets across a number of different value streams and applications.

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