Montezuma Winery and Hidden Marsh Distillery will officially throw the switch on their new solar PV system installed by Taitem Engineering. The Solar Launch Party is free and open to the public on Sat. Sept 24, from 11am-4pm. Live music, BBQ, solar tours, lawn games, giveaways, and, of course, wine and spirits will be enjoyed by visitors to the winery at the north end of Cayuga Lake.
Taitem staff will give informational tours of the new system, provide remote site assessments, and sponsor a free Wine & Shine raffle of solar-powered smartphone chargers. At 2:30pm company officials will ceremoniously “throw the switch” to power the facility with the sun’s energy. Music at the family-friendly Solar Launch Party will be provided by The Pelotones, a regional jazz/blues/R&B quartet favored by area swing dancers.
The roof-mounted 104 kW solar array will generate 90% of the electricity consumed in the company’s wine making, distilling, bottling and retail operations each year. Montezuma’s system utilizes 320 SunPower photovoltaic modules, the highest efficiency panels commercially available today. SunPower’s solar technology also powered the first ever solar airplane flight around the globe, recently completed on June 23. Six Fronius inverters connect the panels to the utility grid, and a dashboard in the Tasting Room displays energy production in real time.
When asked what motivated the choice to install solar power, co-owner Bill Martin said “Our wines are made from the bounty of fertile land, abundant water, and clean air. My family and I want to do everything we can to keep that environment healthy and we’re always seeking to become more efficient. Adding solar is a natural fit for our winery. We are located next to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, and going solar helps connect us with nature even further.“
Taitem’s President Lou Vogel affirmed, “Bill and Ed Martin are very entrepreneurial and invested in the local community. Taitem is pleased to work with them to design and install a solar PV system which gives them control of their energy expenses. It’s a strong statement about what the future holds for New York’s agricultural economy, and Montezuma is helping lead the way.”