As the role of renewable energy continues to grow, The Violin Group aspires to bring clean, renewable energy solutions to all commercial and industrial clients. With the goal to make clean energy available at a lower cost than energy supplied by the electrical grid, The Violin Group believes the transition to clean energy can – and should – be done in a cost-effective and sustainable way. The Violin Group’s Renewables division will handle every aspect of your transition to clean energy, from design to installation, and help you leave the right impression on your community, the environment and your bottom line.
- Paul Harber, Proprietor, Ravine Vineyard
It’s said that it’s always sunny in St. Davids, so a solar array seemed a natural fit for Ravine Vineyard, a biodynamically farmed, certified organic operation in the heart of the Niagara’s wine region.
The Violin Group installed a 72-kilowatt solar power array on the roof of the Ravine production facility. It’s set to produce nearly 100 megawatt hours of electricity each year for the estate, which includes a restaurant in addition to the winery operation.
The new system will provide up to 16 per cent of the facility’s total power requirement, and a big boost to Ravine’s sustainability goals.
The project is a win-win for the 150-year-old, family-run farm - it will help the Lowrey-Harber family secure the Ravine legacy for generations to come, and bring real environmental benefits as well. The solar array will help Ravine reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 71.7 metric tons each year. That’s the same as planting 1,857 trees or 84.4 acres of forest each year, removing 15.3 passenger vehicles emissions from the road each year, and powering 10.7 homes each year or lighting 573,214 LED light bulbs 24 hours a day, for 365 days of the year.
- Bill Redelmeier, Proprietor, Southbrook Vineyards
Longstanding environmental stewards and advocates for all sustainable practices, Southbrook Vineyards has always lead the pack. Located in picturesque Niagara-On-The-Lake, the award-winning winery, built by renowned architect Jack Diamond of Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca), has achieved tremendous goals throughout its history. Being Canada’s first certified organic and biodynamic winery, and having the first winery building to reach LEED® gold certification, Southbrook has set the pace. The addition of renewable energy has long been part of Southbrook’s plan to continue pioneering in energy conservation while working with nature to make great wine.
Being awarded the long-anticipated solar powered net-meter project was no small feat, and The Violin Group was honoured to have been chosen to complete the project. As part of this dynamic net-metering project, the largest in Niagara-On-The-Lake, the system consists of 8 rows, 432 panels and a 136KW output, supplying 50-60% of Southbrook’s total consumption. Being mindful of soil and livestock sensitivities, and in keeping with a locally sourced vision, the team at The Violin Group strived to exceed each expectation.
"With our client having a LEED® Gold building and a biodynamic and organic vineyard, it was important to us to have as sustainable an approach as possible while building this project,” says Mike Violin, founder, The Violin Group. “In order to allow the septic bed, soil and soil chemistry to remain undisturbed, the system was ground mounted; all concrete ballast foundations were locally sourced and utilized recycled materials in place of some aggregate. Quite simply, Southbrook is a green masterpiece."
Always acknowledging the three pillars of sustainability - the economic, environmental and social components present in a dynamic project of this nature, a commitment was made to focus on social responsibility. Through their dynamic partnership and like-minded vision, The Violin Group and Southbrook Vineyards collaborated to create a “Community Build Day” during the construction of the solar project. An integrated, inclusive learning opportunity was created with the help of the Niagara Catholic District School Board, Brock University, and Niagara Sustainability Initiative (NSI) to teach students within the Niagara Region how net metering works and how to install solar panels. The Community Build Day allowed each participant to gain hands-on experience, resume build and share in a productive networking opportunity while fostering the collaborative, inclusive learning environment necessary to generate genuine, intrinsic change within the community – we had a great time too, and we’re proud to share in the success of this project with the community.
When The Violin Group’s Renewables division was hired to outfit a state-of-the-art, custom General Coach Canada trailer with solar-powered LED lighting, we were confronted with one of our most unique projects yet. In response to the electrical infrastructure restrictions that plague most campgrounds and RV resorts, we created an innovative energy saving solution that delivers the user experience enjoyed by today’s modern families.
With these hurdles in mind, we created an unconventional solution that we now call DC-Direct. By combining low-voltage LED lighting with solar and battery power, the truly off-grid DC-Direct system can generate power in DC, store it in battery form for use when required, and then distribute it directly for use in specialized LED light fixtures – both inside and out.
Modern electrical infrastructure is based on alternating current (AC); solar systems generate power in direct current (DC). In order to use power generated from solar, an inversion from DC to AC must occur (which typically results in power losses of over 20%). Compounding this problem are further losses that occur when using LED lighting, as LEDs are natively DC appliances that require AC/DC transformers.
The Violin Group’s DC-Direct system results in an ultra-efficient solution, free from the usual losses associated with inverters or transformers. It operates without any additional heat, doesn’t require an oversized solar-powered system, and offers a convenient, sustainable way to light General Coach Canada’s industry changing trailers – or any other indoor or outdoor space.
smartflower is a fully integrated, all-in-one solar system that can live anywhere. Designed to be a plug-and-play system, smartflower makes solar simple. After installation, you’ll be producing clean energy for your home or business. And if you ever have to move it, smartflower can be easily packed up and moved to a new site.
The Violin Group is proud to be an official smartflower installer.