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Commercial Solar Case Study, Sterling Vineyards

Winery Solar Electric Installation Project Profile

solar panels, Sterling VineyardsSterling Vineyards’ 72 kW solar electric system in the Napa Valley was both designed and installed by SolarCraft. Sterling’s famed aerial tram is now powered by the sun. The aerial tram at Sterling is the only one of its kind in Napa Valley, offering stunning views as visitors ride up to the winery, perched 300 feet above the town of Calistoga.

The 72 kW solar electric system at Sterling is comprised of two separate solar energy systems. One system will power Sterling’s aerial tram. This system is 55.5 kW, consisting of (264) SunPower PowerGuard 210 watt insulated solar roof tiles installed on the roof of the Reserve Winery located at the bottom of the hill. SunPower PowerGuard solar roof tiles provide reliable, clean electricity while insulating and protecting the roof. The added insulation saves up to 30% more energy by reducing the building’s heating and cooling load.

The second system is ground mounted and will provide power to the winery’s water treatment facility. It will generate 16.5 kW of power and consists of (72) SunPower high efficiency 230 watt panels.

The new system will enable Sterling Vineyards to generate enough clean electricity each day to power 36 average homes. The new system will spare the air nearly 64 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to driving over 4.3 million miles. The system will pay for itself in 5-6 years.

System Specifications
System Size 277 kW DC
235 kW AC
Location Napa, CA
Solar Panel (1632) Sharp 170 W
Inverter (2) SatCon 135 kW
Mounting System Unirac — Sunframe
Estimated Annual kWh 395,442
Cumulative Cash Positive 5–6 Years

Customer Profile
Sterling’s iconic winery is perched high above the town of Calistoga on a mid-valley hill. Sterling Vineyards is well known for offering guests the most unique winery tour in Napa Valley. From the aerial tram up the mountain to the bold beauty of the winery’s Greek-inspired architecture, from the comprehensive self-guided tour to the stunning wines themselves, Sterling Vineyards has attracted visitors for over 30 years. Sterling Vineyards wine is produced by Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines (DC&E), part of Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business.

“Sterling has long had a commitment to sustainable farming practices and a concern for preserving our unique Napa environment. The conversion of the memorable 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.”
~ Michael Westrick, VP Winemaking, Sterling Vineyards

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