Last month we brought you news of the Solar Lily Pads that are being proposed for Glasgow’s Clyde River. In a perfect example of serendipity, we’ve discovered that the Far Niente winery, located in the Napa Valley region, has implemented a similar idea. Compelled by the desire to shift towards renewable energy, this forward thinking winery has created their very own floating solar power system by installing photovoltaic panels on pontoons!
The simple solution was born out of necessity. In order for the solar array to provide enough power to the winery, the size of the installation would have to be significant. If located in the vineyard, a large amount of the grape growing land would be lost to the photovoltaic array. The arable-land-conserving answer was to locate the solar panels in the winery’s irrigation pond.
The system cost $4.5 million dollars, and consists of 1,000 solar panels which are located on a number of floating pontoons. The total system, which includes an additional 1,300 panels located in adjacent land, will generate around 400 kilowatts, more than what is required by the winery making it an energy plus endeavor!
An additional benefit to the floating installation is that pontoons and photovoltaics shade the previously uncovered irrigation pond. So now, not only are the solar panels generating renewable energy power, they are also helping to reduce the amount of lost water due to evaporation.