Napa Valley wineries turn to solar power - Smart Energy Decisions

GHG Emissions, Commercial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  July 19, 2017

Napa Valley wineries turn to solar power

A family-run winery in Napa Valley is expecting to offset 95% of its utility bill through power generated from a 177-kW solar installation at its property.

The photovoltaic system was installed at the Monticello Vineyards property in Napa, Calif., and is expected to help the vineyard save thousands of dollars each month in electrical costs by harvesting its own power onsite, according to a July 13 news release.

The ground mounted system includes 540 SunPower 327-watt solar panels and should produce 280,000 kWh annually, according to a statement from the installer, SolarCraft.

The system is expected to offer a seven-year payback period for Monticello Vineyards.

Many family-run wineries in California are finding ways to adapt to the changing climate, such as Jackson Family Wines. In a recent feature by The New York Times, Katie Jackson, the vice president for sustainability and external affairs at the Northern California vineyard, explains how they are adapting their business model to account for the drier climate and assess they can offset carbon emissions by modifying their own business practices.

Jackson Family Wines has taken measures to improve their energy efficiency by installing 21 Tesla Energy stationary storage systems and multiple onsite solar power systems. They expect to generate 35% of their energy needed for winemaking operations through onsite solar power generation, with the hope of offsetting 50% of their operational energy use by 2021, according to their 2016 sustainability report.

The energy management changes within the wine industry reflect the growing number of vineyards concerned with the impact that their operations have on climate change. Organic Authority reported July 18 that Napa and Sonoma counties, the largest producers of California wine, both committed to 100% sustainability in recent years.

Napa and Sonoma counties have each instituted certification processes for their respective regions. The Napa program, Napa Green Winery, provides certification to vineyards based on tracking energy and water use, as well as waste diversion and resource conservation.

Napa County has a current certification rate of 50%, while Sonoma County Winegrowers, the Sonoma certification program, is at 60%, Organic Authority reported. The Sonoma certification process requires wine companies to assess if their vineyard is “environmentally sound, economically feasible and socially equitable.”

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