Work has begun on a 680-panel, 469,000-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array in the parking lot at BriarPatch Co-op Community Market in Grass Valley.
The expanded lot will have 45 more parking spaces while generating an estimated minimum of 55 percent of the store’s energy needs, according to store officials.
“This project demonstrates BriarPatch’s commitment to being a leader in environmental responsibility,” General Manager Chris Maher said in a news release. “Reducing our dependence on nonrenewable energy is a benefit for everyone. The fact that we can do this while responding to customers’ demands for new parking spaces is a win-win all around.”
Construction started in May and is due to be completed by Sept. 30. Tru-Line Builders of Grass Valley is the project contractor and California Solar Electric Company of Grass Valley is installing the solar power system. Tru-Line also 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 most of the summer and much of the work will be done at night and the early morning.
To free up parking on Litton Drive and around the store, BriarPatch employees will park in nearby lots. In addition, more staff will help with shopping carts and traffic control.
In June, the store plans to show a live view of the construction area and back lot at 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.”