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SolarCraft Completes Solar Electric System at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

Sonoma Vineyard now powered by the sun

Novato-based SolarCraft announced today the completion of design and installation of a 124 kW solar electric system for Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma, CA.

Solar electric system, Jacuzzi Family VineyardsThe 124 kW solar electric system at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards is comprised of two separate solar energy systems. Each system uses 374 Mitsubishi Electric 165 watt panels and one Satcon 50 kW inverter, for a total system use of 748 solar panels and 2 inverters.

Going solar is part of Jacuzzi Family Vineyard’s commitment to environmentally conscious business and sustainable farming practices. Mitsubishi Electric solar panels are the most eco-friendly solar panels available. They are the first to use 100% lead-free solder in their solar panels.

“Our commitment to sustainable business practices is extremely important to us and it’s a great feeling to know that our winery is being powered by solar energy. Overall, I am impressed with how painless the process was from start to finish”, said Fred Cline of Jacuzzi Family Vineyards.

The system is 124 kW DC power and is CEC rated at 103 kW AC power. The solar electric system will produce an estimated 185,130 kWh annually, not including any additional production from the tracking array which could potentially add an additional 37,026 kWh annually, for a total of 222,156 kWh.

The new solar energy system generates enough clean electricity each day to power 82 average homes. The new system will spare the air nearly 91 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually, or 2,726 tons over the life of the system. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to driving over 6.3 million miles. This is equivalent to planting over 18 acres of trees.

Each of the two systems connects to a separate PG&E electric meter, each of which provides electricity to the Jacuzzi winery building and the water well and fire pumps. There are two main PG&E meters servicing the entire property, thus the two separate solar energy systems.

One solar energy system provides nearly 100% of the electricity for the water well and fire pumps. This 61.7 kW system is comprised of two different mounting systems that hold the solar panels in a fixed position facing directly south. Single pole mount and ground-mount structures were used due to limited ground space. The single pole mounting was used to ensure the panels were above any tree shading.

The second structure consists of long rows of ground-mounted panels east to west. Located in the south and southeastern section of the solar field, both are fixed mounted, tilted directly south.

The remaining 61.7 kW portion is mounted on a single axis tracking system, allowing the solar panels to follow the sun throughout the day, providing 15–20% more energy production. This system provides electricity to the winery building and is located closest to the building, mounted in long rows north to south.

A solar energy panel produces the greatest amount of electricity when it is perpendicular to the sun — as opposed to an angle. A single axis solar tracking system enables the solar panels to follow the sun as it travels through the sky each day. The panels start the morning facing east where the sun rises, at noon they are flat, finally facing west at the end of the day. The system returns to east at sundown and waits for the whole process to begin again the next morning. This system requires more square footage, so it was determined that only the winery building got a tracking system due to space constraints.

The system is currently the largest test case known for comparison between tracking and fixed arrays with identical equipment on the same site. SolarCraft will be monitoring the system very closely with a remote monitoring system and using the data to determine the exact benefits versus cost of tracking systems.

The system it expected to pay for itself 6 years. By taking advantage of the federal tax credit, state rebates, and accelerated depreciation, Jacuzzi Vineyards was able to reduce the total system cost by nearly 75%.

About Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

The beautiful 18,000-square-foot, rustic-Italian stone structure was inspired by the Jacuzzi family home in Udine, Italy. The winery sits on 190 acres in the Carneros region of Sonoma at Arnold Drive across from Cline Cellars. The winery honors the family, Italian immigrants, who came to America in the early 1900s. Owned and operated by descendants of the Jacuzzi family of well pump and spa fame, the winery produces 18 different wines under the Jacuzzi Family labels.

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