Rohnert Park-based Stellar Energy, a solar energy engineering, procurement and construction provider, installed a 454-kilowatt photovoltaic electricity system at Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg.

The array has 1,932 solar modules, all made in the U.S. The solar power generated is expected to offset 99 percent of utility bill for the family-owned and -operated winery -- to $75 a year, compared with $145,000 in 2011. That is estimated to save the business nearly $4.9 million in electricity costs the three-decade life of the panels.

The solar installation is part of a six-year effort at Jordan to reduce its energy consumption to the lowest possible level before adding an expensive solar system.

“I felt strongly about reducing our energy use before converting to solar,” said Tim Spence, director of operations at Jordan Vineyard & Winery. “In the rush to get off the grid, many businesses have been ‘solarizing’ their inefficiencies -- putting marketing before true sustainability and using the sun to power their overconsumption of energy. Reduce use first: that’s been our guiding principle.”

From 2007 to 2010, Jordan installed foam-insulated reflective roof covering (known as a “cool roof”), new refrigeration units, new warehouse doors, insulated piping and LED lighting to reach its initial electricity-reduction goals.

Electrical demand decreased by 25 percent through those measures, according to the winery, based on certification under PG&E's ClimateSmart program.

Jordan was among the first Sonoma Green Business Program-certified wineries. The winery’s energy use was certified carbon neutral in 2009, through the purchase of renewable energy credits.

“California’s bountiful sunshine has nurtured our grapevines for 40 years, and this harvest, we’ll use that same sunlight to power all of our crush equipment for the 2012 vintage,” said John Jordan, chief executive officer of Jordan Vineyard & Winery.

Jordan’s solar system was mounted on a hillside behind the winery to maximize the southern exposure sunshine and preserve the traditional, look of the chateau-style buildings. The official switch from electrical to solar power took place July 2.