Michigan Winery Goes Solar

Joanna Schroeder

The largest solar agribusiness installation at a winery, Chateau Chantal Winery & Inn, is now online after a ceremonious flip of the switch by Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. “Michigan IS a leader in renewable energy,” staid U.S. Senator Stabenow. “Make, grow and innovate – that’s what we do best in Michigan.”

Chateau Chantal Power Up Switch_052915The 148.5 kW Harvest Energy Solutions solar installation will offset 40 percent of the winery’s energy needs. More than 50 invited guests were on hand to celebrate completion of the solar project.

“We’ve been harvesting grapes on this farm for 29 years and are now excited to diversify by harvesting the sun’s energy with the largest solar array at a Michigan winery,” said Marie-Chantal Dalese, president and CEO at Chateau Chantal.

Chateau Chantal’s solar PV system is made almost entirely with parts and equipment made in Michigan, from the Harvest Energy Solutions’ manufactured racking and clips to the Michigan-made solar panels.

“At Chateau Chantal, we’ve been incredibly lucky to steward this amazing property on Old Mission Peninsula. Installing a large scale solar array is one more way we can reflect our commitment to a healthy environment. Our vineyard has been MAEAP (Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program) certified for 8 years and we ceased application of chemical fertilizers in our vineyard 10 years ago,” Dalese.

“We’ve been very conscientious of our natural beauty and understand that it is a major reason people vacation in our area. The stationary solar array has been positioned so that these stunning natural views are not affected.”

Chateau Chantal Solar Array-052915Chateau Chantal was awarded a MEDC Pure Michigan Business Connect grant which provides matching funds up to $50,000 to companies in need of addressing technology gaps with innovative resources or solutions from another Michigan-based company. Further financing came from a USDA REAP grant that covered another 25 percent of the project costs.

“Harvest Energy Solutions is passionate about improving the lives of hard working Americans dedicating their lives to agribusiness, like Chateau Chantal, and sustaining their business from generation to generation,” added Harvest Energy Solutions’ President, Chris Curry. “We believe that there is a tremendous amount of untapped value in renewable energy and believe in partnering with our agribusiness customers to promote lower energy costs and energy independence so they can focus on what’s important: Feeding Americans.”

Agribusiness, Clean Energy, Electricity, Renewable Energy, Solar