Solar Panels Among the Grapevines

    Constellation Wines U.S. has begun installation of the largest winery solar power energy system in the world at its Gonzales Winery, located in

Monterey County,

Calif.

     The one megawatt solar system will cover approximately 170,000 square feet of the main winery warehouse roof and will produce more than 1.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, providing approximately 50 percent of the winery’s total energy requirements. The installation is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

     Immediate environmental benefits from this project include a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an annually reduced carbon footprint equivalent to planting 2,500 acres of trees, not driving an average automobile 25 million miles, or taking more than 2,000 cars off the road.

     “We are proud and excited about this solar project,” said Jose Fernandez, CEO, Constellation Wines North America. “We are committed to investing in technologies that will allow us to produce our wines in the most sustainable way possible, from our vineyards through the entire winemaking process.

     “This installation is one of the most significant environmental projects undertaken to date by the wine industry, and will have a positive impact on the environment, as well as being cost-effective.”

     Clean, renewable energy such as solar power helps to protect the environment, lowers energy and consumer product prices, and reduces strain on the electric utility grid by generating electricity when demand is high during the summer.

California, in particular, benefits from solar power due to its high number of annual sunlight hours.

     “During the summer months, when the winery is not crushing grapes, the system will export enough electricity onto PG&E’s power lines to supply all of the electrical needs for about 25 percent of the roughly 1,695 households in Gonzales,” said Kelly McMahon, Director of Sales for Pacific Power Management, which is working with Constellation on the project.

Posted in Wine and the Environment
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