far-niente-3.JPGWhen Napa Valley winery Far Niente resolved to embrace solar power, it faced a big hurdle: how to install ground-mounted panels without sacrificing acres of valuable Cabernet vines.

Enter the latest solar innovation — solar panels that can float on the water rather than being mounted on the ground.

The system, which was given the witty name “Floatovoltaic,” was made by securing 1,000 solar panels on pontoons and floating them on an irrigation pond at the 100-acre Martin Sterling Vineyard, whose grapes make Cabernet Sauvignon wine.

With “Floatovoltaic,” Far Niente was able to save three-quarters of an acre of vines. It removed another acre of vineyard to accomodate a land portion of the system that boasts 1,300 solar panels.

The solar system generates up to 400 kilowatts of electricity at peak times, significantly offsetting the winery’s annual power usage, Far Niente said.