Designed to explore the potentials of a large winery but also function as a solar electric generation power plant, the Solar Vineyard Winery, from designer Michael Jantzen, utilizes 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. The cells also shade the structure below, and symbolically refer to giant rows of grape vines planted on a hillside. Shaded space beneath the solar panels is used by visitors for picnics and special events.
Rainwater is also 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.
Most of the utilitarian portion of the Solar Vineyard Winery is placed under the main structure, which references the surrounding rolling hills of the wine country in which the structure is situated. 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.
“My hope with this design is to demonstrate ways in which alternative energy gathering systems like solar cells, can be integrated into the built environment without appearing to be an afterthought,” explains the designer. “In this case, the solar cells become an integral part of the esthetics of the design in addition to having the potential of producing a large amount of solar electrical energy for many years.”