Grant turns sunlight into hot water for winery

Turning sunlight into hot water was the focus of a recent California Energy Commission grant. Now, the demonstrated system is ready for the marketplace.

It is a simple concept that has been used by homeowners to warm-up water for swimming pools. It is more complex in a commercial environment where the demand for hot water can be constant and the hot water is used for cleaning cookware, bottles and other items used in food processing.

With this grant the Gas Technology Institute and Solar Usage Now demonstrated a solar-assisted gas water heating system at Courtside Cellars, a small winery in San Miguel. The major water use was during harvest, but bottling needs were year-around. For similar food processing activity, it was determined the solar-heating system could reduce hot water costs by 40 to 80 percent, depending on the existing type of gas boiler used. The cost of the system could be recaptured in about seven years.

The industrial, agriculture and water sectors in California use 30 percent of all natural gas consumed in the state. The Energy Commission’s research and development helps reduce energy use and cost, meet environmental challenges, address future energy needs and accelerate the use of renewable resources.

Learn more about this project and other innovations in the recently released Natural Gas Research and Development 2014 Annual Report.

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Research & Development

California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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