Kendall-Jackson, based in Sonoma County, Calif. is one of America’s favorite family-owned wineries. Best known for their award-winning Chardonnay, Kendall-Jackson has made sustainability and philanthropy a core part of the company’s DNA, just as much as its commitment to creating premium wines for their customers. Since its debut in 1983, Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay has grown to be America’s best loved Chardonnay leading its category for the last 20+ years. Kendall-Jackson has proven that putting the environment first is a key brand value to customers, which in turn drives financial success.
The winery’s dedication to sustainability drives their environmental, social and economic practices and is reflected in their employee benefits, community involvement, land use principles and resource conservation efforts.
Leaders at Kendall-Jackson believe that improvement is a process and continually seek new ways to strengthen their sustainability practices. After improving water and energy conservation via several efficiency and water reuse programs, Kendall-Jackson began to examine distributed energy solutions for their Kittyhawk production and storage facility. Housing the winery’s extensive blending and bottling operations, the Kittyhawk facility uses thousands of gallons of hot water every day — consumption that cannot be offset with a photovoltaics-only solution.
After examining several renewable energy solutions, such as traditional solar electricity and solar hot water, Kendall-Jackson decided on solar cogeneration. Wine operations require large amounts of hot water and electricity, and solar cogeneration provides both of these resources, cleanly and sustainably, and in one product. In addition to the unique benefit of dual energy production, Kendall-Jackson chose solar cogeneration for its quick payback time, simple integration into existing infrastructure and unparalleled environmental benefits.
The facility’s energy use called for 96 Cogenra PVT (photovoltaic-thermal) modules to supply the building with approximately 1.4 million gallons of hot water annually. Working with SunWaterSolar, a leader in solar thermal technologies, Cogenra installed the 241kW turn-key system over roughly 9,000 square feet on the roof of the Kittyhawk plant—the largest solar cogeneration rooftop array to date.
About a month after construction began, the solar cogeneration system was completed and is currently generating enough solar hot water to wash seven 15,000 gallon tanks and one 100,000 gallon tank daily. The system also feeds electricity to the building’s grid to power lighting and cooling systems. The Cogenra array combines PVT panels, fully integrated hydronics, tracking controls and inverter in one system. Remote monitoring and performance diagnostics provide Kendall-Jackson with instant insight into system performance and the environmental impacts of the solar cogeneration system around the clock.
By employing solar cogeneration, Kendall-Jackson has already seen a positive financial impact on their energy bill, and will save nearly $30,000 each year on energy expenses. While solar energy production will vary by seasons, the array will provide an average of 60 percent of the facility’s hot water needs annually. Benefits have not just been financial: greenhouse gas emissions from the Kittyhawk bottling facility have been reduced by 135 metric tons per year, equivalent to removing 27 cars off the road annually.
Kendall-Jackson chose to purchase the system and is taking advantage of the state’s solar thermal rebates, which under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) will pay back $12.82 for each therm displaced during the first year of operations. The full cost of the system will be fully recovered in less than five years, after which all energy generated by the solar cogeneration array will be completely free.