Constellation Wines U.S. has announced a major expansion of its solar energy initiative as part of its ongoing commitment to corporate social responsibility.
The company plans to invest in three new solar energy installations across California at its Clos du Bois winery in Geyserville, Ravenswood winery in Sonoma, and Estancia winery in Monterey County.
The projects build on the company’s solar initiative, which began in 2009 with the inaugural installation at the Gonzales winery in Gonzales, Calif.
Approximately 17,000 solar panels will be installed at the four wineries by the end of 2010, making the initiative the largest solar footprint in the U.S. wine industry.
The solar power generated is projected to cover most of the wineries’ energy needs. Specifically, the systems will provide the Estancia and Ravenswood wineries with 100 percent of their annual power, 75 percent of the needs of Clos du Bois, and 60 percent of the needs at Gonzales.
“The four systems will have a combined solar power of 3.95 megawatt DC, which is equivalent to 4.5 million pounds of emitted carbon being removed from the atmosphere,” said Greg Fowler, senior vice president of operations for Constellation Wines U.S. “This amount equates to 9 million miles not driven annually, or 226 million miles not driven over the next 25 years – a sizeable reduction.”
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors member Paul Kelley added, “This is an exciting project showing Constellation’s commitment to quality wine, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction.”
Constellation has retained California-based Genesis Renewable Energy to design, install, operate, monitor and maintain the new installations at Clos du Bois, Ravenswood and Estancia. Genesis will work with locally-based contractors to complete the project, further utilizing community resources and creating local jobs.