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Wine growers turn to solar wattage for hopes of vintage harvest

High efficiency PV panels are to be installed on the roof of a Californian warehouse to create one of the world’s largest solar projects at a winery.

The 1.2 megawatt solar system installation at Constellation Wines US’ Gonzales Winery in Monterey County, will cover approximately 170,000 square feet of the main winery warehouse roof, and will provide about 50 percent of the winery’s total energy requirements.


“Many wineries and agricultural enterprises have already turned to solar as a primary source of energy, and even more are considering it,” said Gina Heng, director of sales and marketing for Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA’s Photovoltaic Division, which is providing the panels.

The installation will include 6,358 Mitsubishi Electric 185Wp solar panels, and can generate 1,176,230 watts of DC power and deliver 1,000,040 watts of AC power to the grid. The reduced greenhouse gas emissions will be equal to taking 2,000 cars off the road each year, and the system’s reduced carbon footprint will equal planting 2,500 acres of trees.

The annual estimate annual offsets, or pollution avoided, by the solar installation include 1.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide; 1,636 pounds of sulphur dioxide; and 2,909 pounds of nitrogen oxides.

“We are proud and excited about this solar project,” said José Fernandez, CEO, Constellation Wines North America. “We are committed to investing in technologies that will allow us to produce our wines in the most sustainable way possible, from our vineyards through the entire winemaking process. This installation is one of the most significant environmental projects undertaken to date by the wine industry, and will have a positive impact on the environment, as well as being cost-effective.”