Cline Cellars announced today the substantial completion of its new solar electric system. Designed and built by SolarCraft of Novato, California, the system will provide 100% of the winery’s annual electricity needs for its Carneros production facility.
SolarCraft was able to design a lightweight aluminum mounting structure that works well with the structural capacity of the winery’s steel warehouse and fermentation buildings, while giving the panels a slight tilt directly south. The winery’s roof is roughly 50,000 square feet and now supports just under two thousand Sharp solar panels. The 34,625 square feet of high capacity solar panels will generate roughly 411 kilowatts, providing 100% of the winery’s annual energy consumption. In fact, the solar panels will generate so much energy that the winery also contracted SolarCraft to completely upgrade its electrical infrastructure to support the increased capacity.
Cline Cellars first considered the switch to solar in 2003. While researching designers and installers, the winery realized that state rebates per kilowatt were dropping. The winery’s management decided to take action before rebates dropped further. In 2004, Cline Cellars awarded SolarCraft the contract to design and build their system. SolarCraft immediately assisted Cline with the applications for the solar energy rebate program with the Public Utilities Commission. In March 2005 the PUC approved the project.
Cline Cellars’ goal is to be energy independent – creating predictable energy and costs. Towards that goal, SolarCraft first assessed and reduced the winery’s energy demands.In 2004, SolarCraft advised Cline Cellars to install energy saving lights throughout the facility and add a new urethane, foam-insulating roof that reduces cooling costs in the summer by up to 30 percent.
“The current state and federal incentives make solar electric systems a viable investment for all types of businesses,” says Chris Bunas, Director of PV Systems Division at SolarCraft. “With energy costs skyrocketing, smart companies like Cline Cellars are now looking for ways to reduce and set their facility operations expenses for the long term. With 25 year warranties and 40+ year design life on the major system components, this system will be positively affecting Cline’s bottom line for many years to come.”
“SolarCraft worked with us every step of the way.We are very happy with the form and function of the panels,” says Cline Cellars’ Director of Operations, Peggy Phelan. “This has been a win/win/win project from the beginning.The winery is eliminating huge energy bills, flat-lining our operating budget for energy costs, and improving air quality by reducing 690,000 lbs. of noxious greenhouse gases per year. Project timing was ideal to capture both the state rebate incentive and new federal tax credits.”
Solar electric is ideal for wineries,” says Bill Stewart, co-founder and owner of SolarCraft. “By utilizing existing roof space to generate electricity on site, Cline Cellars is helping to reduce peak electricity demand for others, while exhibiting sustainable winemaking and business practices”.
The project features an educational component to it as well. Cline Cellars hosts frequent tours of their on-site “California Missions Museum” for North Bay children who are in the fourth grade and studying California history. A new addition to the winery tour will be a solar kiosk where students can learn about solar power and actually see the amount of energy the winery is generating from the sun.
About Cline Cellars
Cline Cellars is a family owned and operated winery that produces super- and ultra-premium wines in the Carneros district of Sonoma Valley.The winery specializes in handcrafted Zinfandels and Rhone style wines that are bold and well structured and sourced from their vineyards in Sonoma and Contra Costa Counties.Cline Cellars produces and markets wines under the following labels: Cline Cellars, Red Truck, White Truck and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. Their tasting room is located in an 1850s farmhouse and is surrounded by six spring-fed ponds.Guests are invited to enjoy a picnic on the lush lawns surrounded by thousands of rose bushes, willow trees and ever-changing gardens. Cline Cellars is located in Sonoma at 24737 Highway 121 with tastings daily 10am to 6pm.
Just 45 minutes north of San Francisco in Sonoma’s premier wine country, and 20 minutes west of Napa on Highway 121, Cline Cellars was once the site of a Miwok Village and the first camp of the Sonoma Mission.
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