About Récolte Energy
Focusing on transforming energy systems, supporting businesses in their regenerative efforts, and creating forward-thinking solutions, Récolte Energy is led by a passion for environmental progress, innovative practices, and local advocacy.
Providing Energy & Strategic Consulting Services
Récolte Energy is a Napa Valley based renewable energy consulting firm, founded in 2004 by Gopal Shanker.
We develop turn-key renewable energy projects, using solar photovoltaic, fuel cell, and energy storage systems, for private and public sector clients. We do feasibility studies, develop Request for Proposals, evaluate proposals, negotiate terms with vendors, provide project management support and vendor oversight during construction, and manage utility rebate, interconnection, and billing tasks.
We are technology-, financing-, and vendor-neutral, Owner’s Representatives. We maintain our objectivity by accepting payment only from you – our client. We use your assumptions and evaluation criteria to identify the most suitable project, technology, financing method, and vendor to maximize your return on investment and reduce your energy bills.
Although we represent your interests, we work collaboratively with vendors. We want them to remain viable and customer-oriented businesses that can fulfill their performance guarantee and warranty obligations.
Here are some examples of what we have accomplished with our clients and partners:
Saintsbury winery’s solar photovoltaic (PV) system was the first to be approved in May 2007 for installation in a utility easement by the California Public Utilities Commission. This approval can potentially be used to justify the development of more PV systems under overhead transmission lines.
Far Niente winery installed the world’s first commercial floating PV system in February 2008 and was Bank of America’s first solar lessee. Far Niente’s motivation for installing solar over its pond was to minimize the number of vines it would have to take out of production. Along the way, we learned that solar was good for the pond and vice versa. Clearly others got the message, because by September 2018, according to the World Bank, 1,097 MW of floating PV had been installed globally.
The Gasser Foundation’s PV system was financed with the first power purchase agreement (PPA) to be developed for a small non-profit in October 2008. There are others offering non-profit solar PPAs today.
Sutter Home winery’s fuel cell project built by Bloom Energy in September 2011 was the first large scale fuel cell installation in the wine industry. Sutter Home was also Bloom Energy’s first PPA customer.
Napa Sanitation District’s 1 MW battery storage project was installed by Tesla in March 2016 with no upfront investment from NSD, in exchange for shared bill savings. Napa Sanitation District’s 1 MW PV system and Napa Valley Unified School District’s PV systems for its middle schools were installed under PPAs with 0% escalators and options to buy the systems.
Between January 2007 and February 2014, Récolte Energy worked on getting a California law changed, a CPUC decision approved, and a PG&E tariff (NEMA – Net Energy Meter Aggregation) passed. As a result, a customer with multiple meters on adjacent or contiguous properties can offset the combined loads of his meters with a single renewable energy system. According to the CPUC and the California Distributed Generation Statistics site, at the end of 2016 roughly 5% of all net metered projects in California were NEMA projects, or 233 MW out of a total of 4664 MW.
In January 2007, Récolte Energy proposed new strategic and tactical goals for Napa County. The strategic goal was to become an eco-restoration destination and the tactical goal was to become a net exporter of clean energy. Récolte Energy has moved Napa County towards the >100% renewable goal by removing the obstacles as described above and helping to bring in MCE as an alternative to PG&E. As a result, we are 60% renewable today (we would have been 33% had we remained with PG&E), are on track to get to be 100% renewable in a few years, and have the option of opting up to be 100% renewable now for an additional cost of 1 cent for every kWh consumed.
To accelerate the achievement of these strategic and tactical goals, Récolte Energy is working on zero emission vehicle, renewable hydrogen, and waste to energy projects.
Gopal Shanker was an invaluable resource in the development of our renewable energy systems and continues to be so in the management of them. In 2006, Far Niente Winery embarked on an ambitious project to develop and install the world’s first floating grid-connected solar photovoltaic system atop an irrigation pond. The complications of this remarkable and pioneering project were manifest, spanning technical, regulatory, utility company, and local government domains. Gopal diligently provided advice and solutions through the application, design and building processes and contributed significantly to the successful completion of the project... Read MoreGreg Allen, President and Winemaker, Dolce Winery
You have been the most dedicated Business Industry Partner I have had supporting my Alternative Energy Class pathway for 10 years now . You helped to start this class. I don't think it ever would have started if it wasn't for your inspiring speeches! I would like to give you an award from Napa County Office of Education for supporting my CTE pathway. I would love to honor your dedication and the incredible amount of time that you have volunteered to support our Napa County students!Heather Brooks, Teacher, Calistoga High School and Former Teacher, Vintage High School
I recently had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Gopal Shanker, President of Récolte Energy. He is extremely passionate about identifying innovative energy opportunities and informing about both present and future trends. The other aspect that I loved was his vulnerability while addressing such a significant topic. I am eager to see how Récolte Energy takes us to the next level!Matthew Gamble
Gopal... Your role as Del Mesa consultant over the several years it took to bring our solar project to this stage was highlighted. Your advocacy of net metering to the PUC was credited with making it all possible... From one Del Mesan who was involved from the beginning, i want to express my thanks for all you contributed to help make it happen. It is sincerely appreciated. I doubt it would have happened without your help.Brice Draper, Board Member, Del Mesa Carmel
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Napa Valley, CA