Golf Business News – Solar installation puts golf club on path to self-sufficiency


The Santa Lucia Reservation in California will soon reach another environmental milestone. The completion of a $1.2 million solar panel installation will supply most of the electricity used by the Preserve Golf Club. The new system will also contribute to the club’s water savings by limiting evaporation.

Forrest Arthur, chief operating officer and general manager of the Santa Lucia Preserve Community Services District, said the central mission of the community is to “work toward a level of self-sufficiency that can last for hundreds of years.” He added that “protecting and building sustainability” of the sprawling 20,000-acre Carmel Valley community was his main challenge as well as his inspiration.

Jimmy Ferriera of Applied Solar (left) and Forrest Arthur, COO of Santa Lucia Preserve District (photo credit Daniel Dreifuss)

Arthur saw floating solar panels in use at a winery in California’s Sonoma Valley. Developed by French company Ciel & Terre International, the panels offset the costs of pumping water from the cellar and provide shade to slow evaporation.

“Evaporation control is a real sexy by-product of floating solar,” Arthur said. “Not only are you offsetting energy consumption, but you are shading water, a finite resource. This win-win concept fits perfectly with our goal of self-sufficiency at The Preserve.

A test of the panels on a small pond in the Santa Lucia reserve in 2018 proved successful. Then the club had to get a permit from Monterey County for the first such facility in the area.

Installed by Pacific Grove-based Applied Solar Energy, the 1,178 panels, which cover the majority of one of the course’s water storage facilities, will supply approximately 80% of the electricity for the course, toilet blocks and the golf club. The panels rest on pontoons which are attached to the banks of the pond and rise and fall with the water level.

Water for drinking and irrigation comes from a series of wells connected to underground aquifers, as well as five storage facilities that collect 50 million gallons annually. According to the Santa Lucia Reserve’s guiding principles for low-impact development, the floating solar system is preferable to large-scale ground-mounted solar farms, according to Arthur.

The panels are in place and will be fully operational once Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) upgrades a transformer and substation.

Photo courtesy of Applied Solar Energy

It will probably take a few years before the evaporation data is collected and the actual water and energy savings are calculated. Arthur noted that the different turfs on the golf course require varying amounts of water, with the cool season grasses (in the raw) needing more and the warm season Santa Ana Hybrid Bermuda, which was planted in the fairways in 2016, being drier. tolerant. Bermuda also go dormant – changing color from green to white or brown – in cooler temperatures, further reducing water requirements.

The Preserve Golf Club, an award-winning design by Tom Fazio, is the centerpiece of a private community of just 300 resorts in the scenic Coast Mountains east of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. The residents are dedicated to the mission of the founders. of habitat conservation, establishing the only community in America with perpetually endowed nature conservation. The golf course meanders through oaks, redwoods, streams and the Santa Lucia Mountains.

For more information, visit or contact The Preserve at (831) 620-6700 and


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