Sterling Vineyards in the Napa Valley has converted its famed aerial tram to solar energy, Beverage World reports.
Each year, the tram carries more than 200,000 visitors to the Sterling winery, which is perched 300 feet above the town of Calistoga, Calf.
“Sterling has long had a commitment to sustainable farming practices and a concern for preserving our unique Napa environment,”says Michael Westrick, vice president of winemaking for Sterling Vineyards.
“The conversion of the Sterling tram to clean, renewable solar power just makes environmental and economic sense. This is another step in our overall commitment to increase our conservation efforts, whether through long-standing support of The Land Trust of Napa Valley, the launch of Sterling Vineyards Made with Organic Grapes, or our membership in the global movement 1% For The Planet.”
There are 336 solar panels installed on the roof of the Sterling Vineyards Reserve Winery, located at the bottom of the hill and throughout the winery grounds. These panels will generate enough energy to power nearly eight average homes and save 33 tons of greenhouse gasses annually, or 821 tons over the course of 25 years. The system is equivalent to planting 11.3 acres of trees, the company says.
The solar photovoltaic system is expected to generate 93,727 kWh per year — an extra 20,985 kWh/year, which will offset other uses at Sterling Vineyards. The additional energy will supply power for the Sterling Vineyards Reserve Winery; fermentation, blending and storage tanks; bottling lines; the Sterling Vineyards cave, as well as other uses.
Visitors to Sterling Vineyards will see the real-time levels of power being generated by the solar system, the amount of power the tram is consuming and the cumulative amount of energy generated or consumed by each on a flat-panel video screen located at the tram entrance.
This screen also will educate visitors about Sterling’s other environmental efforts, including recycling, reducing water use and reducing waste to landfill.