California Vineyard Saves Money Due to Solar Energy

HOPLAND, California – Companies which rely on renewable energy in California are at a “great advantage” in the current energy crisis. “Our contract for 100 percent renewable energy continues as usual with Enron Energy Services, so our costs are stable for the green energy we are purchasing,” says Patrick Healy of Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland. “We have more conservation programs coming on-line in 2001 that will result in dramatic usage reductions this year in spite of plans to increase production.” Fetzer installed 90 photovoltaic panels on its rammed earth administration building, which have generated 56,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the past year, running at 98 percent efficiency. The electricity from these solar panels fully powered the building last year. “We have been working to reduce our energy usage for some time now at Fetzer, and though we have made dramatic progress, this situation renews our commitment to do even more,” adds company president Paul Dolan. “It is unfortunate that it takes a crisis of this cost and magnitude to make people aware of the critical importance of the limited resources we have and the need for conservation, but we hope that some businesses will see the advantages of making these changes that will benefit everyone.” Many companies in California are scrambling to lessen the impact of rising prices. In the wine industry, Fetzer uses a combination of ambitious energy reduction programs, PV panels, and 100 percent green energy purchasing to produce three million cases of wine each year. Located in Mendocino County, Fetzer was founded in 1968 and is involved in organic vineyard farming practices. It is also involved in solid waste reduction and innovative recycling programs.

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