Jordan Vineyard & Winery, a California-based family-owned and operated winery, has got 454 kW solar panels installed by solar energy engineering, procurement and construction provider Stellar Energy.

The newly installed solar photovoltaic system will help the winery to offset its utility bill by 99% and help it save around $4.9m in electricity costs over the next 30 years.

Stellar Energy’s solar photovoltaic array, which consists of 1,932 modules made up of 100% American made equipment, is installed on a hill behind the winery to give the solar panels maximum exposure of sunlight.

The official switch from electrical to solar power took place on 29 June 2012.

Before opting for solar system, during the period from 2007 to 2010, the winery installed cool roofs, new refrigeration units, warehouse doors, pre-insulated piping systems and LED lighting and enrolled with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) ClimateSmart program to reduce its electricity usage.

This helped the winery decrease its electrical demand by 25% and get certified as carbon neutral energy usage company through ClimateSmart in 2009.

However, the winery then switched to solar energy to further reduce its usage of electric energy.

Jordon Vineyard & Winery operation director Tim Spence said to get rid 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.

Stellar Energy sales and marketing vice president Matt Lugar said the Jordan Winery solar project is another example of Stellar Energy’s expertise in designing and installing complex, ground-mounted solar installations on steep hillsides.

"Jordan Winery’s new solar energy system will allow them to use clean solar energy to produce their wines for decades to come," Lugar added.

Image: Solar panels installed at the hills of Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. Photo: Stellar Energy GP