Three wineries, 17,000 solar panels producing nearly 3 megawatts
Locations: Clos Du Bois, Geyserville; Ravenswood, Sonoma; and Estancia Winery, Monterey County
Owner: Constellation Wines U.S.
Project manager and general contractor: Genesis Renewable Energy Inc., Sebastopol and Laguna Beach
Description: 2.84 megawatts of photovoltaic power generation at three wineries
Completion: December 2010
Electrical contractors: Umstead Electric, King City (Estancia); Knights Electric, Windsor (Ravenswood); Silverwood Energy, San Diego (Clos Du Bois)
Solar contractors: One Sun, Sebastopol (Estancia and Ravenswood); Silverwood Energy (Clos Du Bois)
Roofing contractors: SSB, Salinas (Estancia); Wine Country Roofing, Santa Rosa (all three wineries); Free Enterprise Inc., Santa Rosa (Clos Du Bois)
Engineering: structural and electrical -- Sustineo Corp., San Diego; structural for Clos Du Bois -- DEJ Structural Consulting Inc., Laguna Beach
Project cost: $13.4 million
[caption id="attachment_24924" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The first panels on the roof of the Clos du Bois winery in Geyserville were installed Sept. 13. (Jeff Quackenbush photo)"][/caption]
CALIFORNIA -- Constellation Wines U.S., one of the world’s largest wine companies and operator of several North Coast wineries, undertook one of the largest such projects for the wine industry this year.
The $13.4 million solar-electricity project is set to be complete in December at three of Constellation's California wineries -- Clos du Bois in Geyserville, Ravenswood near Sonoma and Estancia in Monterey County.
About 17,000 solar panels produce a total of 2.84 megawatts of direct-current power at the three wineries.
The Estancia system totals 1.127 megawatts of electricity production and is estimated to offset all the annual consumption of the winery.
The 583-kilowatt Ravenswood system also is projected to offset that winery's usage per year.
Clos Du Bois' 1.124-megawatt array is estimated to offset 75 percent of annual consumption.
"Clos Du Bois had one of the most challenging roofs in the country for a solar installation due to the architectural style of the building, featuring 26 degree pitched roofs," said Paul Gonzalez, a principal and head of finance for project manager and general contractor Genesis Renewable Energy. Formerly, he was a North Bay commercial real estate agent.
Design and safety challenges with that installation required close coordination with Constellation, according to Mr. Gonzalez.
[caption id="attachment_24925" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The new solar-power carport at Clos du Bois shown with Tesla Motors and Zap Jonway electric vehicles plugged into it. (Jeff Quackenbush photo)"][/caption]
Panels were installed at Constellation's winery near the Central Coast city of Gonzalez last year, offsetting 60 percent of electricity use. That brings the total size of Contellation's solar endeavor to nearly 3 megawatts in the past two years.
The latest round of projects was financed by Rabobank and partly paid for via federal and state incentives.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides a 30 percent tax incentive for solar projects this year.