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Floating Solar Array at Kunde Family Winery

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Floating Solar Array at Kunde Family Winery

The future of the planet and the people who reside on it are turning more and more towards solar as the number one preferred renewable energy source. Solar is the most abundant energy resource on earth, so the demand for new solar technology is at an all time high. Compared to rooftop and ground mounted systems, floating solar PVs have gained momentum as another alternative choice that is both environmentally multidimensional and beneficial in the long run. 

Ciel et Terre, an international floating solar PV company, partnered up with the Kunde Family Winery in Sonoma to implement such a project. They opened their newest subsidiary in Petaluma at the heart of Sonoma county earlier this year. The Kunde Family Winery has been at the forefront of sustainable development in Sonoma County, and welcomed the opportunity to further their efforts. Over the summer, Ciel et Terre installed a 10 KW demo system on one of the irrigation ponds located on the Kunde property. The system is gathering data to show how much solar energy can be generated and how it can be utilized by the winery. 

“As a local winery we understand the impact that we have on the environment and therefore take it as our mission to adopt more sustainable practices for our business,” says Jeff Kunde, Chairman of the Kunde Family Winery. “We see this partnership with Ciel et Terre as an opportunity to do just that and raise awareness to other wineries that solar technology does not have to be expensive or space consuming.”

Floating solar PV is especially valuable for energy and water intensive industries such as wineries, dairy farms and reclamation facilities that cannot afford to waste valuable land and water resources. With their patented Hydrelio technology, Ciel et Terre created a solar system named Hydrelio™ that can be installed on man made bodies of water such reservoirs, dams and the irrigation pond at the Kunde Family Winery. 

In comparison to rooftop and ground mounted solar systems, floating solar PVs are affordable and simple to install with no excavation required. They also pose no adverse environmental side effects as all materials are 100% recyclable and reusable. Floating PVs make use of the virtually unobscured direct sunlight that these bodies of water receive, as well as yielding additional benefits for the surrounding ecosystem including decreased water evaporation and algae growth, which pose as solutions to major environmental concerns such as the California drought.

The Kunde Winery floating solar project is just one of many other international developments as the group strives to bring more solar energy opportunities to other communities across the globe. Currently, Ciel et Terre have projects in 9 different countries including: England, China, Australia, Brazil, Singapore, Korea, Japan, France, and the US. Locally in the Bay Area, Ciel et Terre is focused on extending their activities throughout the Sonoma County into other local wineries, water agencies and farms. They are also closely collaborating with the Center for Climate Protection to promote solar development as a mean to address climate change.