Local Vineyard Lays Claim To The Largest Winery-Owned Solar Tracking Array
PASO ROBLES - J. Lohr Vineyards in Paso Robles can now lay claim to the wine industry's largest, winery-owned, solar tracking array. It's a project the management at J. Lohr is very excited about.
"Oh, this is just great," said Steve Lohr, Senior Vice President of Planning and Development. "We are a family owned vineyard and winery, and so it is very important to us that we keep the climate healthy, so that we keep our vineyards healthy."
And the Lohr family believes they can help do that by installing a massive solar project, unique for the industry. "Most solar systems are set up where the panels don't move," said Michael DeSousa, Project Developer with the solar company, Conergy. "They just face to the southern sky, pick up the most sun possible as the sun goes through the sky throughout the day."
But, the J. Lohr project uses solar panels that follow the sun from east to west, giving each panel the highest amount of exposure, and hence more convertible energy, cutting the winery's traditional power need by 75-percent. "Because of the size of J. Lohr's operation here, it makes a huge dent in the amount of electricity that's used from the grids," DeSousa said.
Lohr said the winery doesn't stop at solar power. He said there are various measures taken to reduce the amount of power needed at the winery. For instance, night air cooling is used in many cases, over traditional refrigeration.
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