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Friday, November 4, 2011

Floating Energy

More and more people have a desire to utilize solar power, but many don't know how it would be possible for them. More specifically, I'm talking about some winery owners in Napa County, California. The president and CEO of the Far Niente wineries, Larry Maguire, said that he didn't want to replace vines with solar energy. From an economical point, I suppose that is sensible if he is making a large profit from his vines (even though businesses save money by incorporating solar energy, it does require funds to get things going). Maguire is quoted as saying, "“Yet, we recognize that our environment is facing significant challenges, and as an agriculture-based business we have an obligation to do our part.” Thankfully in this case, we have someone who sees that he has responsibilities beyond simply money-making, but (naturally) he also wants to do whatever is smartest economically. Believe it or not, there was a solution that could satisfy these different desires: a Floatovoltaic Solar System. The company SPG Solar Incorporated designed "a series of solar panels installed on pontoons that float upon the winery’s irrigation pond." After government rebates, the total cost of these panels was $4 million. It sounds like a lot, and it is; but, there is an excess of energy that the winery owners are able to sell back to the grid. Therefore, the winery owners will make back all of the money within 12 years. The solar panels actually last for 25 years, so the owners will end up profiting from this.

This is an incredible example of people who didn't just give up because something seemed difficult. Not only did they come up with a solution, but they came up with a profitable one!

Here's where I got my quotes and my story:


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