Solar Revival

Following the devastation of the 2017 Tubbs fire, The Fountaingrove Club in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County’s only member-owned private facility, lost its clubhouse, maintenance facilities and all maintenance vehicles, while more than 200 members and employees lost their homes to the fire.

As the club continues their rebuild process, they celebrate the new completion of a 161 kW solar energy installation by Novato and Santa Rosa-based SolarCraft, expected to reduce operating costs by thousands of dollars each month.

A portion of the solar photovoltaic system is mounted on the remaining athletic club building and another portion on a custom engineered solar shade structure, which now acts as a protective carport and EV charging station for the club and visitors’ vehicles. The solar power system consists of 446 solar panels and will produce 230,940 kWh annually, converting sunlight directly into electricity, offsetting almost 70 percent of the annual PG&E usage at the athletic club. The nearly maintenance-free system should pay for itself within 5-6 years, and last over 30 years.

 a return to paradise

Paradise Ridge Winery, which burned to the ground during the 2017 October wildfires, has broken ground on their rebuild. Along with family, friends and supporters, the Byck family celebrated the milestone on October 22.

Local architecture firm, TLCD Architecture, designed the new structure, keeping strong ties to the old building. In a statement, the architecture firm stated that they would keep the design of the new facility recognizable, respecting the 25-year-history as a premier winery and venue. 

The Byck family chose Wright Contracting to bring forward the new design concepts. Bryan Wright, vice president of Wright Contracting and project manager for the new design, said, “Our team is excited to be part of this project, and we’re committed to constructing the new winery in time to have people celebrating weddings and admiring the views by fall of 2019.”

Walter and Marijke Byck founded Paradise Ridge Winery in 1991, after years of selling grapes. In 1994, the hospitality center was established and in 2002, a production building followed. The fires may have decimated the structure of the buildings, but only brushed the estate vineyards, and on September 7, the team celebrated the first harvest since the fires.

And what about the famous LOVE sculpture? The two story iconic statue survived the fire and was on display during the summer in the winery’s five-acre sculpture garden. In the meantime, guests can visit the Sonoma Valley tasting room and sensory garden in Kenwood while waiting the reopening in Santa Rosa. Visit for more details.


The Orchard Rebuild After the Fires

During the 2017 October fires, The Orchard’s 55-and-older community in Santa Rosa lost nearly 70 of their 233 homes to the fires. One year later, they celebrated the rebuild of several homes in their community with a ribbon cutting. Hometown America, the company that owns the land The Orchard sits on, offered residents substantial discounts for homeowners who chose to rebuild. They offered $100,000-$150,000 in savings off market value for each home, for those who chose to rebuild with them.

“The rebuilding of the Orchard community has been just as much of an emotional rebuilding as it has been a physical rebuilding,” says Stephen Braun, co-president of Hometown America. “This is a tight-knit community, the majority of which is retired and many have lived here for decades. The Orchard is their home and welcoming them home as quickly and safely as possible has been our goal since the day the Tubbs Fire hit. The progress made at the Orchard is a much-needed morale booster for residents here and the Santa Rosa community as a whole.”


For more information on The Orchard, visit

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