Biltmore has begun installation of a solar renewable energy system that will be completed over the next few months. It is located below Antler Hill Village on the estate’s grounds.
The new system will use solar energy to supply over 25 percent of the estate’s energy, specifically in the village area. Currently, the estate uses an average of four megawatts of energy per month. The addition of solar energy will reduce the estate’s energy consumption by one megawatt and reduce energy costs by 25-30 percent.
SunEnergy1 of Mooresville, NC, is installing the project. The solar renewable energy system will include 5,000 solar modules from Bosch Solar Energy. The panels will be located on six acres on the East Side of the estate. This location boasts excellent orientation to the sun and allows for harvest of optimum energy. The installation process will also allow the pastures to remain intact and the estate will continue to use the acreage for its current agricultural purposes.
The installation of this system is part of Biltmore’s company-wide mission of environmental stewardship and has interesting ties to its history. When George Vanderbilt created Biltmore Estate, he envisioned a country estate modeled after private manors in Europe. His dream was for his home to be completely self-sufficient and a model for the future. As a result, Biltmore House had its own generator that created enough power for the 250-room home.
Biltmore’s sustainable guiding principles have been a part of the company for generations. This project is one of many environmental efforts including sustainable forestry practices, soil and water conservation, employee environmental teams, field to table initiatives, recycling and reuse programs, and waste stream reduction practices. In 2008, Biltmore won the Triple Bottom Line Award from Sustainable North Carolina.