Local winery, brewery going solar

By Nicole Brodzik

If you look close at the roof of Sovereign Estates’ winery, you’ll notice a new accessory.

Shiny, black panels cover the top of the building, while also fueling the building and business below. On April 11, owners Paul and Terri Savaryn flipped on the panels and began, what they said they hope will be many years of eco-friendly power. As much as they appreciate the benefits it will create for the environment, Terri Savaryn also pointed out that they will see other, more immediate benefits as well.

“There are so many financial advantages to doing it to,” she said. “There’s rebates available that make it more affordable. The pay back is a little longer, but we’re in this for the long haul anyways. We’re creating a legacy here for our children.”

The Savaryn’s got help with funding from the Port Authority as well as help from XCel Energy thanks to their Solar Rewards program.

The panels are expected to generate about 52,000 kilowatt hours per year, which is about equal to what the vineyard uses. When there is an energy surplus, the extra energy will go back onto the grid and Sovereign Estates is reimbursed for the contribution.

Another upside to the new panels is the minimal maintenance needed to keep them in running condition. Mike Woodley has worked with many businesses across the Midwest installing solar systems. He said they should expect at least a solid 40 years out of this system.

“When you think about it, there are very few moving parts,” he said. “There’s almost no maintenance here.”

To celebrate the new addition, Sovereign Estates will be hosting a series of six concerts this summer, which will also be entirely run on their solar panels. The concert series is called Solar Powered Vintage Rock and Wine Concerts and the first performance will take place on June 23. The concert series will feature a number of former band members for greats such as Survivor, The Journey Experience, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Boston. Terri Savaryn said people really enjoyed similar events in the past and that they hope the community will come out this summer to celebrate.

“These aren’t cover bands,” she said. “It’s the real deal and even all these years later, they do a great job. It’s a lot of fun.”

Ticket prices start at $25 dollars and ticket packages that include drinks and meetings with the bands are available as well. The concerts all start at 6 p.m. and specialty concessions will be available for purchase.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit http://sovereignestatewine.com/vintage-rock-n-wine-solar-concert-series/