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Home > Feature Articles > Agriculture & Organic Production

Creative Agricultural Solar Installations

Wineries and vineyards are developing solar energy arrays to reduce energy costs and contribute electricity to the grid

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California grapes with water conservation Farmers are often the most pragmatic among us -- they learn biomimicry at ground level and often don't have the luxury of stopping by the neighborhood hardware store for mechanical solutions. Necessity is the mother of invention, and the following ideas applied to wine country applications of solar panel arrays is one more good story about farmers' creativity. Space is at a premium in vineyards and space conservation to maximize operations and even multitask some space is drawing out the inventive streak in California vintners.
  • Pole-mounted arrays at the end of vine rows
  • Shaded parking structure built to install solar panels
  • Install the solar array over a leach field
  • Install panels on the ground
  • Add a solar array that will float on an irrigation pond, which will shade the pond, and hopefully keep algae growth down

Solar is growing as fast as the wine industry of California, but solar isn't the only alternative, renewable energy being developed by these agricultural businesses. And organic wine is another sustainable agricultural approach to take into consideration when you look for wineries that support a more sustainable California.

With subsidies and tax breaks for installing experimental and new technologies, many vintners are adding windpower, geothermal wells, and even biodiesel and composting to the profit side of their operations.

Hospitality centers can be heated and cooled by geothermal energy derived from the Earth's thermal mass through an underground loop system.

Electric delivery trucks can be charged with power produced by onsite solar arrays.

Biodiesel is being developed from waste vegetation as well as at nearby cattle farms.

There is not association of "solar wineries",and vintners are rather localized folks. The California Wine Mall includes a list of local California Wineries that might help you locate organic wineries, as well as wineries in your favorite corners of California.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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