Solar Carport Canopy To Power Wells Fargo Center for the Arts

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artist's concept of solar panel canopy at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
The carport canopy at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts will use 1,630 solar panels to generate 90% of the Center’s power needs.

Wells Fargo Center for the Arts and Nelson Solar Projects are planning a large-scale solar photovoltaic project on-site at the non-profit Arts Center in Santa Rosa, California. Besides providing shade to the parking area, the 400-kilowatt system will use 1,630 solar panels to generate 90% of the Center’s power needs and will be one of the largest renewable power systems to date among performing arts centers in the United States.

Rick Nowlin, the Center’s Executive Director, commented, “We are proud and grateful for this agreement, which will allow the Center to be more sustainable as a non-profit organization. We’ll be able to contribute to a cleaner environment and dedicate more resources to our mission oriented programs, such as music, dance and theater presentations; placing artists into classrooms; and providing instruments to students.”

Gary Nelson, Founder of Nelson Family of Companies and President of Nelson Solar Projects, LLC, added, “We’re honored to be able to provide this organization with a tangible way to reduce operating costs. As longtime supporters of the Arts Center, we believe strongly in the work that the Center does, especially its programs for children.”

The initiative is made possible through a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in which Nelson Solar Projects will provide capital financing and installation of the canopy-mounted photovoltaic system to be installed on four rows of sunshade carport structures. The Arts Center will fully own the solar system at the end of the PPA and will realize significant savings on energy costs beginning in 2023.

Greg Steele, a member of the Center’s Honorary Board of Directors, led the initiative for the solar canopy. He noted, “This is an exciting example of a business leader stepping up in a creative way to support a non-profit that brings so much to our quality of life in Sonoma County.

Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is celebrating its 31st season of presenting world-class performances, events, and arts education programs in Sonoma County, California.

A non-profit community Arts Center, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is home to world-class performances, nationally recognized education programs, contemporary sculpture, and many popular events. The Arts Center is located in the heart of the Sonoma Wine Country and ranked among California’s top performing arts presenters. Founded in 1981, the Center presents performances in music, dance, theater, spoken word, and comedy; and education programs serving 30,000 children and adults annually. The Arts Center also provides a home to six resident companies, including the Santa Rosa Symphony. Owned and operated by the Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation, the non-profit Center relies on charitable community donations to achieve its mission – to enrich, educate, and entertain.

Read Sustainable Buildings and Infrastructure: Paths to the Future

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