Winemaking, eco-style

Penn Valley’s solar array takes it off the electricity grid

Pilot Peak Winery has reached a green forefront by going off the grid. The Penn Valley-based winemaker recently installed a 33 kilowatt solar system, eliminating its dependence on grid energy, according to co-owner Jacque Wilson.

In fact, the photovoltaic system is running the facility’s energy meter backward. In other words, PG&E will be paying them for the excess electricity generated.

In addition to meeting electricity needs, the two solar platforms shade the winery’s production area, further reducing the energy needed to keep barrels cool. The new installation is in addition to a 29-kilowatt system already in place on the property.

The solar system is expected to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by an estimated 764 tons of CO2 over the next 25 years, and to pay for itself in energy savings in fewer than eight.