Fetzer Vineyards Announces New Solar Plans

Apparently, California's Fetzer Vineyards is not one to rest on its laurels. As we've noted before, the company already grows one of the world's largest crops of certified organic grapes, buys 100% of its power from green sources, and produces much of the electricity for its administrative building from solar panels. Now, the winemaker is stepping up its sustainability commitment even further by joining with MMA Renewable Ventures and 3 Phases Energy Services to build "the largest solar energy vineyard project in the U.S.":

The 901-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) project will be positioned on the roofs of the bottling facility and Red Wine Barrel Room at Fetzer's Hopland, Calif., winery. Generating 1.1 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity annually, the installation will supply 80% of the bottling plant's electricity needs. By replacing electricity from fossil fuels and other sources with clean energy from the sun, the Fetzer solar array will offset more than 960,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the equivalent of taking approximately 80 cars off the road for a year or planting 130 acres of trees.

"As one of the first and only wineries to purchase 100% clean power, Fetzer has a long-standing tradition of pioneering environmentally sound business practices," said Steve Dorfman, chief winery officer for Brown-Forman [Fetzer's parent company]. "Building one of the largest solar energy arrays in the country as a green power solution is perfectly in line with Fetzer's business objectives and commitment to sustainability."

Fetzer plans to begin construction on this project, the first to receive financing from MMA Renewable Ventures, in July; completion is scheduled for October. Let's all raise our glasses! :: GreenBiz.com

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