Annandale, NJ., February 5, 2020 – In January 2020, Green Power Energy wrapped up the installation of a solar array at Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes. The ground mounted solar array is located in an adjacent field to the main complex and was designed to offset 100% of the electrical needs on site.
Unionville has been a farm for over 150 years, a vineyard for 31 years, and a winery for 26. The first vines were planted in the ‘80s and the farm became a licensed winery in the early ‘90s. The site in Ringoes has an old farmhouse, a production facility, and a well-appointed tasting room. When entering the complex, it has an agrarian feel; with its split rail fence, heirloom garden, acres of sprawling vines, red barns, old farmhouse, and gravel driveway. The farming at Unionville takes place over 40 acres throughout Hunterdon and Mercer Counties, with the majority of the growing, and all the wine making, happening on site in Ringoes. At Unionville, there are varieties of chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet franc, and syrah to name a few.
Growing grapes in New Jersey is hard work.
The soil in Hunterdon County is great, but the moisture and cold can be a death sentence for popular varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and a constant battle for the thin-skinned grapes of a Pinot Noir. To combat this, the team at Unionville, led by general manager John Cifelli, takes pride in the approach of “farming hard.” Farming hard means hand tending to every plant from beginning to end, while focusing on canopy, sunlight, and airflow. Cifelli’s goal is to achieve a 100-point score from one of the 4 major wine publications; a distinction still elusive to Unionville and its peers in New Jersey wine. Unionville got a taste of that success with their 2017 Pinot Noir which achieved a 90-point score from Wine Advocate. In pursuit of their “race for 100,” Unionville has put a focus on becoming as good as possible, as quickly as possible.
In order to be the best, Unionville has brought in a “forward thinking crew,” led by Cifelli. “Forward thinking” is where solar comes into play. John described the current mission at Unionville as, “we want to make great wine in a healthy, thoughtful way. Everything we do is thoughtful here. How we make the wine, how we grow the grapes, and how we sell. We want to take this property and make it something that contributes positively to the environment.” Although reluctant to talk about the financial motivations around installing solar, John did concede that they intend to take the savings and income from solar and put the money towards better, more sustainable farming practices. “We plan to turnaround those savings into making the best wine we can,” John added.
The solar installation will save Unionville plenty of money over time.
With energy savings, and SREC income, the vineyard is projected to save nearly $50,000 in year one alone. Money that will help the vineyard stay competitive in the race towards a 100 score, and stay innovative in its sustainable approach. In choosing Green Power Energy as the solar installer for the project, it came down to Green Power Energy being a local, Hunterdon County installer, the quality of the components used, and the reputation of the company. Green Power Energy recommended a premium system for Unionville. The 116 kW solar array includes (294) SunPower solar modules, SolarEdge inverters and optimizers, and GenMount racking. The system will produce almost 150,000 kWhrs annually which will offset the equivalent of about 250 barrels of oil.
Although the solar array is in an adjacent field, Cifelli has no intention of hiding it. The solar array will now be a stop off on Unionville’s wine tours. In addition to seeing the vines and production first hand, visitors will now know the solar array as one of the features of the property. You can check out the solar array for yourself on a visit to Unionville. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony om April 8th, 2020 at 11:30 am, the tasting room is open every day from 12-5pm – be sure to check out the Pinot Noir.
About Green Power Energy:
Located in Annandale, NJ Celebrating its 10th year in business in 2019, Green Power Energy is one of the highest rated solar companies in New Jersey with additional operations in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Green Power Energy install solar on homes, businesses, and farms. Contact Green Power Energy for a custom solar quote on your property.
Green Power Energy
47 East Street
Annandale, NJ 08801
9 Rocktown Road
Ringoes, NJ 08551
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