OAKVILLE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Napa Valley wine producer Far Niente has gone live with its Floatovoltaic™ solar array, the first-ever system and technology of its kind in the solar industry. The Floatovoltaic installation, designed and installed by SPG Solar, Inc. of Novato, Calif., with technology developed by Thompson Technology Industries, Inc. (TTI) of Novato, Calif., creatively couples photovoltaic (PV) energy with water, saving valuable vineyard acreage from being sacrificed for land-mounted arrays.
The Floatovoltaic solution came about as a meeting of the minds between Far Niente and SPG Solar. “We looked at several configurations for our solar array, but they all involved taking out a significant amount of our vineyard, which was not an attractive idea. Finally my partner, Dirk Hampson, suggested we find a way to put the panels on our irrigation pond. After interviewing several companies, it turned out that SPG Solar’s sister company, TTI, had developed the technology to float an installation on water, and we provided them with the opportunity to try it,” said Larry Maguire, Partner and CEO of Far Niente.
Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel join a small, but quickly growing contingent of Napa Valley wineries who are adopting solar power at a rate estimated to be more than 40 times faster than California businesses in general, according to Dan Thompson, President and CEO of SPG Solar. “Wineries are spearheading a movement beyond their industry towards the implementation of renewable energy and sustainable practices. Our goal is to provide our customers with the most effective solar energy solution that fits their unique needs. The Floatovoltaic system at Far Niente is a perfect example of this – a winning combination of innovative ideas and technology.”
Far Niente’s Floatovoltaic system involves securing nearly 1,000 Sharp solar panels on pontoons that float on the winery’s vineyard irrigation pond. Combined with a section of about 1,300 panels located on land adjacent to the pond, the array will generate 400 kilowatts at peak output, enough to offset the winery’s annual power usage and provide a net-zero energy bill.
The Far Niente array is located in the 100-acre Martin Stelling Vineyard, which is the cornerstone of the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon program and is located directly behind the winery. About one acre of vineyard was removed to accommodate the land-mounted portion of the system, but the floating array’s positioning on the pond saved another three-quarters of an acre of valuable Cabernet vines that would have been ripped out for a total land-mounted system. This is equivalent to about $150,000 dollars’ worth of bottled Far Niente Cabernet annually.
SPG Solar also installed an adjustable-tilt ground mounted system, developed by TTI, for Nickel & Nickel, Far Niente’s sister winery, which went live in October 2007 and brought in much of the harvest with solar power. Located in the Sullenger Vineyard on the Oakville winery’s estate, the array’s 1,904 Sharp solar panels generate 330 kilowatts at peak output, offsetting the winery’s annual power usage and providing a net-zero energy bill.
“TTI’s Floatovoltaic technology is the result of innovative thinking and practical solutions. With the ever-changing needs of today’s customers, we are constantly developing new solar PV applications to meet or exceed those needs,” said Kris Jernstedt, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for TTI.
“We will always be committed first and foremost to producing great wines; it’s what we’ve been doing for over 25 years,” said Maguire. “Yet, we recognize that our environment is facing significant challenges, and as an agriculture-based business we have an obligation to do our part and take sustainable measures where possible.”
About SPG Solar, Inc.
With full service facilities in Novato, Windsor, Oceanside, Vacaville, Oroville, California and Portland, Oregon, SPG Solar, Inc. is the industry's leading developer, designer, and installer of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for homes, schools, businesses, agriculture, and large-scale commercial and government facilities. SPG Solar has built over 1,000 solar PV systems including Copeland Creek Senior Affordable Housing, Throckmorton Ridge Fire Station, Far Niente Winery, Sonoma County Water Agency, and Kentfield School District – the first all solar school district in the U.S. SPG Solar is committed to building the highest-performing solar PV systems with the highest return on investment. For more information about solar PV systems visit http://www.spgsolar.com or call (800) 815-5562.
Thompson Technology Industries, Inc. (TTI) is a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative solar photovoltaic (PV) products. Founded by experienced solar integrators and installers, TTI develops and builds its products for ease of use, elegance in design, and quality and longevity in performance. From the high-performance SunSeeker™ Single-Axis Tracker to the clever and innovative Flat Jack® roof mount, TTI offers the latest tracking technology and the most dependable mounting systems for solar photovoltaic installations. By offering fresh, innovative solutions, including the Floatovoltaic™ floating PV system, TTI is moving renewable energy forward. Companies worldwide rely on TTI’s products which are designed to the highest manufacturing standards in the world, field-tested and include best of breed technologies. All are patent pending. For more information, visit www.thompsontec.com