From the blog of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine:
The cooperatively-owned grocery store has plans for an innovative 680-panel, 469,000-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array to run along the center of an expanded parking lot. It will be the largest such solar array in Nevada County. The expanded lot will have 45 additional parking spaces while generating an estimated minimum of 55 percent of the store’s energy needs.
“This project demonstrates BriarPatch’s commitment to being a leader in environmental responsibility,” said General Manager, Chris Maher. “Reducing our dependence on nonrenewable energy is a benefit for everyone.” He added, “The fact that we can do this while responding to customers’ demands for new parking spaces is a win-win all around.”
Construction is beginning the week of May 16 though 20, and is due to be completed by September 30. BriarPatch has hired local contractor Tru-Line Builders of Grass Valley to run the overall project and California Solar Electric Company of Grass Valley to install the solar power system. Tru-Line was the contractor for the BriarPatch store building, which was completed in 2007.
A section of the store’s back parking lot will be closed for much of the summer. To minimize impacts for customers while construction takes place, much of the construction work will take place at night and in the early morning hours.
To free up parking on Litton Drive and around the store, BriarPatch has arranged for employee parking off-site in nearby lots, and is offering generous incentives for parking away from the store, as well as for carpooling, biking, walking, or taking a bus to work.
In addition, more staff will be scheduled to help with shopping carts and traffic control.
By June, BriarPatch plans to start up a web camera with a live view of the construction area and back lot on its website, http://www.briarpatch.coop/parking-lot.
“Our advice to shoppers,” said Maher, “is to check our website to stay in touch with the project’s progress and watch the growth of the impressive solar structure.”