Solar Cogeneration Gives Chardonnay A Green Tint

Wineries making use of solar power isn’t exactly news these days, but Kendall-Jackson’s installation of a rooftop solar cogeneration system sure is.

Here’s why: This 96-module, 241-kilowatt hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) and thermal array, expected to save the winery around $30,000 annually, will also produce hot water. And that’s a key step in producing wine with a smaller carbon footprint, as wineries require a lot of hot H20 to clean stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. K-J and the company behind the project, Congenra Solar, said this is the nation’s largest rooftop solar cogeneration system.

Kendall-Jackson solar cogeneration

image via Jakson Family Wines

Cogenra Solar appears to be the go-to company for this type of system; previously, it was tapped to install a solar cogeneration array at Sonoma Wine Company, which produces more than 4 million cases of wine a year for 30 clients.

Cogenra’s system works by capturing the heat normally lost by PV panels in liquid-chemical filled tubes to produce hot water. According to Cogenra, its proprietary technology makes use of up to 80 percent of the sun’s delivered energy, five times the amount of notoriously inefficient traditional PV systems.

On the Kendall-Jackson installation, Cogenra partnered with a local installer, SunWater Solar, to construct the array on the roof of  the label’s Kittyhawk winery. This solar cogeneration system will provide up to 60 percent of the building’s hot water needs, as well as the electricity necessary to power the building’s lighting and cooling systems. Kendall-Jackson also plans to install Cogenra arrays at their Vinwood estate in Sonoma County and an additional winery in Monterey County.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.