The Solar Vineyard Winery, designed by Michael Jantzen, was created in order to explore the potentials of a large winery and also function as a solar electric generation power plant. It works by utilizing solar electricity produced through a large bank of curved photovoltaic solar cells that are elevated above the winery roof. The Solar electricity powers the entire winery and the excess is sold to the local utility company. The cells also shade the structure below and shaded space beneath the solar panels are used by visitors for picnics and special events.
Even the water in this winery is natural–rainwater is collected off of the curved roof and stored for use in and around the winery. All of the water used at the winery is recycled and is used to water the grape vines.
The above ground portion of the winery is used for the retail part of the business, which includes wine tasting and sales, a shop, a cafe, rest rooms, etc. Large glass windows are recessed into the south side of the structure to shade the interior in the summer, and provide passive solar space heating in the winter. Natural ventilation is used throughout the winery for cooling, along with an extensive system of earth pipes that cool the air as it is drawn into the structure.
The goal for this design was to demonstrate ways in which alternative energy systems like solar cells, can be integrated into the environment without being an afterthought. With this design, the solar cells are an integral part of the design’s esthetics while producing large amounts of solar electrical energy.