Wine aficionados searching for a sustainable beverage need to look no further than J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, that unveiled the wine industry’s largest solar tracking array this week.
The three-acre, 756 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) single-axis system tracks the sun from east to west to optimize solar energy production.
J. Lohr sacrificed three acres of merlot grapes for the system, but don’t mourn the loss too much–the winery’s installation will reap both monetary and environmental benefits.
In addition to offsetting 75 percent of J. Lohr’s energy usage, the PV system will offset CO2 emissions by 29,887 tons over 25 years. That’s the equivalent of planting 512 trees or eliminating the air pollution from 97 million miles of driving.
The tracker system optimizes energy output by 15% compared to ground-mounted solar systems, and performs best when energy is most expensive thanks to California’s production-based incentives. The more electricity that the tracker generates, the more money comes back to the winery. With a potential seven-figure rebate–plus federal tax incentives–coming its way, J. Lohr is not likely to regret its investment anytime soon.