“In the wine industry, there’s never been a better time for solar power systems. Recent improvements in solar technology, combined with customary, flat-surfaced winery storage areas and sunny locations, have made renewable energy a smart business investment.”
– Tom Klein, Chief Executive Officer, Rodney Strong Vineyards
Making a world-class cabernet takes more than just sunshine and grapes. It also takes quite a bit of power. Electric power. And that’s just in the barrelhouse, where grapes slowly get transformed into wine. In 2003, Rodney Strong Vineyards decided to put the sun to a second use. By installing solar power panels on the rooftop of its 100,000 square foot barrelhouse, the winery now uses the sun not only to grow grapes, but also to power wine production.
Rodney Strong contracted SunPower to design and install a solar power system and energy-efficient lighting upgrades. SunPower’s long-standing agriculture and wine industry experience, combined offering to help Rodney Strong maximize returns through both solar and energy efficiency, and high-performing solar products and services made them an ideal partner.
Winery Steps Up Its Environmental Commitment
After 13 years of ownership under the Klein family, Rodney Strong Vineyards had become one of the largest franchises in Sonoma County. The winery earned a reputation as an environmental steward, relying exclusively on Sonoma County grapes and investing in more than 1,000 acres of vineyard land.
In 2003, Rodney Strong decided to take its environmental commitment to the next level. The winery contracted SunPower to design and install a solar power system on the rooftop of its 100,000 square foot barrelhouse. SunPower also installed a customized lighting system that used motion sensors and photocells to save even more electricity.
New Solar Power System Becomes Wine Industry's Largest
Covering 80,000 square feet on the barrelhouse’s roof, the 766 kW, 4,032-panel SunPower system is one of the wine industry’s largest.
However, the new solar panels do much more than simply power the building. They also protect the roof from harsh UV rays, extending its life. And because the panels angle at the same slant as the roof, they blend in seamlessly with the building’s architecture.
Rodney Strong Cuts Electricity Cost by 40%, Wins Award
Rodney Strong’s new rooftop solar power system now generates daytime electricity equivalent to powering nearly 800 homes. Combined with the lighting upgrades, the rooftop system is reducing Rodney Strong’s energy usage by 45% and its electricity costs by 50%. What’s more, the new system requires virtually no maintenance. Over the next 25 years, the solar-generated electricity will prevent 8,700 tons of carbon emissions. That’s equivalent to planting 2,500 acres of trees or not driving 22 million miles on California’s roadways.
Fully committed to the environment, Rodney Strong isn’t content to keep the good news to themselves. The company promotes their energy savings to staff, to customers, to other wineries and to the public through press releases, seminars, and tours. In 2004, as a result of their ongoing efforts, Rodney Strong was granted the Green Power Leadership Award on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Location: Healdsburg, CA, USA
Completed: December 2003
Installation Type: Commercial Roof
System Size: 766 kW
PV surface area: 80,000 square feet
Products: SunPower® Solar Electric System
- Reduces winery’s energy usage by 35%
- Reduces winery’s electricity costs by over 40%
- Generates daytime energy equivalent to powering nearly 800 homes, and requires virtually no maintenance
- Will reduce harmful carbon emissions by 8,700 tons over 25 years, which is equivalent to planting 2,500 acres of trees or not driving 22 million miles
- Earned Rodney Strong the 2004 Green Power Leadership award from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency