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Cogenra Unveils Sonoma Wine Company Solar Cogeneration Installation

5 November, 2010

Graton Calif. – November 5, 2010 – Cogenra Solar™, a provider of distributed solar cogeneration systems and renewable energy service solutions, today announced the unveiling of its solar cogeneration demonstration project at the Sonoma Wine Company in Graton, California. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures were among honored guests at a ceremony yesterday afternoon to flip the switch on the 272-kilowatt (kW) installation, now supplying renewable heat and electricity to support the company’s winery operations.

The historic commissioning represents the first commercial-scale installation of its kind, combining proven photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies in one solar array in an important move toward more affordable and efficient utilization of solar energy.

“This is a very significant milestone for Cogenra as we bring our first project online in California’s wine country and toast to a bright future with solar cogeneration,” Cogenra CEO Dr. Gilad Almogy said in his welcoming remarks. “Cogenra’s technology merges the best photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies to meet two valuable industrial needs, low cost heat and electricity. Our solution produces five times more energy and three times the greenhouse gas reductions over traditional solar offerings.”

The solar cogeneration installation employs 15 individual Cogenra SunBase™ modules to displace approximately 64,000 kilowatt-hours and 12,500 therms of natural gas annually. The solar thermal element will heat water to 165°F to sustainably fuel Sonoma Wine Company’s wine tank wash and wine barrel washing system.

The Sonoma Wine Company will purchase the heat and electricity generated from the installation at guaranteed energy rates from Cogenra under the company’s Heat and Power Purchase Agreement (HPPA). Under the HPPA, Cogenra will maintain ownership of the solar cogeneration modules, and Sonoma Wine Company will hedge against rising and volatile electric and gas prices throughout the 15-year contract.

“In vetting renewable energy solutions for Graton, we found Cogenra was the perfect match--high impact without high cost,” stated Derek Benham, founder and owner of Sonoma Wine Company. “Their solar cogeneration offering serves our energy requirements for hot water and electricity, and Cogenra’s innovative financing solution provides all the benefits and savings of on-site generation without the capital costs.”

Contributing to Sonoma Wine Company’s demonstrated commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable winemaking practices, the 272-kilowatt installation will eliminate more than 120 metric tons per year of greenhouse gases, the equivalent of removing nearly 25 passenger cars from the road annually.

Appointed in May as a senior environmental advisor to Khosla Ventures, a premier cleantech venture capital firm and lead investor in Cogenra, the former British Prime Minister attended the event to support Cogenra in its endeavors to usher in the new age of solar cogeneration and more widespread use of carbon-free energy.

“Technological innovation is the key to mitigating climate change; though clean technologies must make economic sense. Because Cogenra has achieved a cost-effective approach, the environmental benefits of solar cogeneration have the potential for true global impact,” said Mr. Blair. “It’s up to companies that are both visionary and savvy, like Cogenra, to set us on the right path to decrease our use of fossil fuels and build a more sustainable future.”

[caption id="attachment_621" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Derek Benham addresses the crowd on behalf of Sonoma Wine Company"][/caption]