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Energy Project Grant Funds Awarded to California Vineyard and Winery Operations

by Ted Rieger
June 14, 2019

The California Energy Commission (CEC), at a meeting in Sacramento June 12, awarded $2.2 million in competitive grant funds for 10 solar photovoltaic (PV) installation projects to help power irrigation systems in California vineyards. The CEC also awarded a grant of $922,151 to E & J Gallo Winery to upgrade the refrigeration system at Gallo’s Livingston wine production facility in Merced County.

The projects were funded from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund under two different grant programs through California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses cap-and-trade dollars to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment.

Renewable Energy for Agriculture Program

The Renewable Energy for Agriculture Program (REAP) is a new program administered by the CEC that solicited applications for its first grant funding opportunity in January 2019. The CEC funded a total of 41 projects with $9.5 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. An additional $5 million in matching funds was offered by the awardees. These projects will add a total of 6.5 megawatts of new PV solar generation capacity.

The program’s goal is to reach agricultural operations of all sizes. Awards ranged from $25,000 to $350,000 for on-farm installations of solar PV systems (both ground-mounted, and rooftop-mounted on existing shops and buildings) to power irrigation pumping systems and shop facilities. Grants also funded optional additional equipment including new electric pumps to replace diesel fueled pumps, battery energy storage systems, and electric vehicle (EV) charging systems for farm vehicles and employee vehicles. The following vineyard projects received REAP awards:

Michael David Winery (Phillips Farms, LLC) received $25,690 for a 15 kW solar PV system to power irrigation pumps and a shop building at a Lodi vineyard in San Joaquin County.

Adam Mettler (dba Fermented Vision) received $48,290 to install a 52.5 kW rooftop solar PV system on an existing shop building to power irrigation pumps and the shop building at a Lodi vineyard in San Joaquin County.

Cherry Road Vineyards, LLC (also an Adam Mettler project) received $32,740 to install a 33 kW rooftop PV system on an existing shop building to power irrigation pumps and the shop at a Lodi vineyard in San Joaquin County.

Loma Seca, LLC received $73,407 to install a 22 kW PV solar system with battery energy storage and EV charging infrastructure to power irrigation pumps and a processing building at a vineyard in San Luis Obispo County.

X-Line Farms, LLC received $298,402 for two solar PV systems totaling 39.6 kW, and battery energy storage and EV charging infrastructure for a 95-acre vineyard in San Luis Obispo County.

Margarita Vineyards, LLC received two separate awards for two different vineyard ranches in San Luis Obispo County. Each award is $348,000 to install a 170.4 kW solar PV system for irrigation pumping,

with EV charging infrastructure for employee vehicles, with one system at the company’s West Ranch Vineyard, and one at the East Ranch Vineyard.

Davis Vineyards, Inc. received $300,000 to install a 244.1 kW solar PV system to power irrigation pumps and a shop building at a vineyard in Madera County.

PAI Delano 1500 Ranches, LLC received two separate awards for two different ranches in Tulare County that each have vineyards and almond orchards. Each award is $349,836 to install a 170.4 kW PV system for irrigation pumps and an EV charging system, with one system at the company’s Ranch 1, and one at Ranch 2N.

Food Production Investment Program

The Food Production Investment Program is administered through the CEC to fund drop-in and energy efficiency upgrade technology and equipment that reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions at large agricultural product, food and beverage processing facilities. The CEC awarded $6.7 million for five projects statewide this year.

E & J Gallo Winery received $922,151 to replace 30-year-old refrigeration compressors at its Livingston wine production facility with newer, more energy efficient compressor packages, some equipped with variable frequency drives (VFDs) to more efficiently control compressor speed based on actual load requirements. The project will reduce energy consumption by an estimated 800,000 kWh per year.


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