Australia’s wineries go green using solar energy

Australia’s wineries go green using solar energy

More Australian wineries are turning to the sun, making the switch to solar power to help in wine production. Driven by rising costs of electricity from non-renewable sources, lower costs of solar power installation, and the potential benefits of producing own power, many wineries haven taken the bold step of investing in more renewable sources. By utilising solar energy for growing grapes and producing wines, wineries in Australia can both save on major costs and reduce their overall carbon footprint.

Photo by Mariana Proença on Unsplash

Electricity is the biggest expense in wine production

For most wineries in Australia, electricity is their largest expense item in the production of their wines. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) estimates that around 40% of expenditures of wineries go towards electricity, whilst the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) says that refrigeration eats up 50-70% of total power costs. Thus, it is no surprise that vineyards look for ways to reduce energy expenses.

Investing in renewable sources makes sense that will drive electricity expenditures down, lower overhead costs, and improve margins. For producers of quality Australian red wines, solar power not only reduces energy costs, but also maximises commercial roof space and reaffirms their commitment to a lower carbon footprint.

Incentive to attract investments in solar power

Solar power adoption surged in Australia in 2008, and even though costs of materials and installation were high, government incentives were also widely available until 2011. Between 2011-14, the prices of solar systems fell. From 2014 to present, there is relative stability in the solar system industry. Photovoltaic (PV) system prices are down significantly and there are existing incentive schemes for solar panels and batteries that are offered at state level, making investments in the area still attractive.

For 2020, interest-free loans up to $9,000 for a solar battery and $14,000 for a solar PV and battery storage system for households with an annual income of $180,000 or less are available. Under the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Scheme, both households and smalls business in Australia that install small-scale renewable energy systems may be eligible for assistance to help with the purchase cost. Eligible participants may be entitled to small-scale technology certificates which can be sold to recoup a part of the purchase and installation cost.

Wineries adopt renewable power sources

An independent report produced by AgEconPlus revealed a 13% increase in the economic contribution of the wine industry since 2015 or an increase of roughly 3% per year. Strong wine exports are largely responsible for recovery in the wine sector. But, the competition is tough and the over 2,000 wineries in Australia have to stay competitive.

In fact, wineries were some of the earliest adopters of solar energy, with dozens in South Australia harnessing solar energy for wine production. Some wineries that have in excess of 100kW solar systems include D’Arenberg, Wirra Wirra, Sidewood, and Peter Lehmann. Recently, Pernod Ricard has become the first large wine company in the country to achieve 100% renewable electricity with the completion of Australia’s biggest combined winery solar installation. According to the winery’s chief operations officer, Brett McKinnon, “being sustainable and responsible is an important part of their business and they want to reduce their impact on the communities where they operate”.

Australian wineries recognise the opportunities to tap into solar energy and enjoy the cost-saving and environmental benefits. Using renewable sources not only lowers electricity costs, but also fulfils a company’s global-minded goals.

Read More Solar News:

Redflow – ZBM2 Microgrid in Tasmania for Hackett

Redflow CEO Simon Hackett has shifted his Tasmanian sheep and cattle farm to a new power source – a 100kW ground mounted solar microgrid using 27 Redflow ZBM2 batteries. Nice to see the bosses eating their own dog food. Let’s take a look at the project and what their future plans are for it.

Redflow – ZBM2 Microgrid in Tasmania for Hackett

Hackett, the owner of Redflow,  will use an initial deployment of 27 ZBM2 batteries, storing as much as 270 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy, interfaced to a large fault-tolerant cluster of 12 x Victron Quattro 48/15000 inverter/chargers.

Simon Hackett at his Tasmanian farm (source: Redflow)
Simon Hackett at his Tasmanian farm (source: Redflow)

 

“The project, with an overall budget of around $1 million, will include the building of a new site-wide microgrid. This will use new underground power interconnects to link seven distinct buildings across the whole property,” Hackett said in a statement. He went on to discuss the existing situation at the sheep and cattle farm he owns:

“We already have a Tesla Model S at the property and we plan to progressively replace our existing fleet of diesel farm ATVs, utes, and tractors with electric versions as soon they become available,” he said.

“We read with interest earlier this year that Toyota is committed to making electric HiLux 4WD vehicles and we would love to take delivery of the first of those to reach Australian shores.

Hackett explained that the Microgrid has myriad future plans and will be scalable:

“We can and will add more renewable energy generation using solar and/or wind if required in the future. Even after the full replacement of diesel vehicles with electric ones, we expect the property to be a net exporter of electrical energy to the Tasmanian grid,” he said.

Lastly, Hackett is very optimistic (mind you, he’d want to be) about the installation – we’re very interested to see some figures on how much it saves:

“I am convinced, based on my deep experience with Redflow, that ZBM2 batteries at the core of this energy system can deliver the hardworking energy storage and longevity to make this investment pay off over the long term,” he said in comments made last week.

Click here to read the original press release on Redflow’s website, entitled ‘Redflow receives order for ZBM2 batteries to power rural microgrid in North West Tasmania’.

Read More Solar News:

Coles Solar Power – Supermarket signs commercial solar PPA.

Coles solar power – the giant supermarket company has signed a power purchasing agreement (PPA) with global renewable power generation company Metka EGN. Another huge step for commercial solar and retail solar. Let’s read more about it.

Coles Solar Power

The goal is to buy more than 70% of the energy generated by three solar power plants. The plants will be bnuilt and operated by Metka EGN in Wagga Wagga, Corowa, and Junee in New South Wales – this represents 10% of the company’s entire national electricity usage! Metka EGN are a London based EPC contractor working as a subsidiary of Greek company Mytilineos Holdings S.A. According to PV Magazine, construction of 169MW will commence by EOY and project development is at an ‘advanced stage’. 

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain discussed the move and Coles’ goal to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia:

“Coles has been a cornerstone of Australian retail for more than 100 years, and ensuring the sustainability of our business is essential to success in our second century,” he said.

“We are thrilled that with this agreement, Coles can make a significant contribution to the growth of renewable energy supply in Australia, as well as to the communities we serve.” Mr. Cain continued.

Thinus Keeve, the Coles Chief Property and Export Officer, had some comments about the Coles solar power scheme – noting that it’s the first Australian retailer to commit to buying renewable energy through a PPA.

Metka/Coles’ solar plants will supply over 220 gigawatt hours of electricity to the national grid. This will result in the displacement of over 180,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. According to the media release this is also the equivalent of the annual emissions of 83,000 cars.

To read the media release entitled ‘Coles agreement secures three new solar power plants’ on the Coles website please click here.

What will Woolworths do to compete with this? Watch this space…

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner, Lindsay Soutar spoke on the issue:

“Some of the world’s biggest companies, including supermarket chains Walmart and Tesco, have already made the commitment to 100 per cent renewable.

“We look forward to seeing Woolworths make similar commitments,” she said.

 

 

Read More Solar News:

WePower partner with Marubeni Corporation

Renewable energy procurement and start-up platform WePower have secured a strategic equity investment via Japanese investment/trading corporation Marubeni Corporation. A press release was published this morning. Let’s take a look and see what this could mean for businesses looking to purchase renewable energy on a scale they’re comfortable with. 

WePower partner with Marubeni Corporation

You might remember WePower’s ICO at the start of last year – the blockchain-based green energy trading platform has enjoyed a massive financial coup by partnering with Marubeni Corporation. This will support rapid expansion of their ‘disruptive green energy procurement platforms’. This is really exciting news for a company we have been watching for a couple of years. We’re looking forward to seeing what their attitude towards PPAs for smaller (‘almost any’) companies will fare – so you don’t have to go all out on commercial solar (such as the XXXX brewery at Milton’s solar installation) and can just buy what you need at a smaller level.

WePower sees Australia as one of the fastest growing markets globally for power purchase agreements (PPA) and this investment will help bring green energy to corporate and industrial consumers from around Australia.

According to a press release from today, WePower Standardised Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) streamline risk management and introduce previously non-existent liquidity for the energy purchased via direct energy contracts.

Nikolaj Martyniuk, WePower’s Co-founder and CEO, says the investment was secured because of deep synergies with Marubeni Corporation’s Power Business Division.

 “We are delighted to work in partnership with Marubeni Corporation to develop and introduce new commercial energy services, as well as scale our solutions globally to markets including Australia.”

“Two-thirds of the energy produced worldwide is consumed by commercial and industrial clients. So, any meaningful change towards a fully sustainable future is not possible without enabling more corporate and industrial consumers to participate in the green energy revolution.

 “To date, only the largest global corporations have been able to access renewable power sources by directly purchasing from a producer. The complexity of this process has created a barrier for smaller companies looking to integrate renewables into their energy mix and contribute to the growth of green energy development,” Nikolaj continues in the press release

Yoshiaki Yokota, Chief Operating Officer, Power Business Division, Marubeni Corporation discussed the deal:

 “We did it by disrupting the traditional energy supplier business model with a deep focus on big data and a radically different approach to energy sourcing, management and trading. We believe WePower is in a unique position to disrupt the traditional corporate energy procurement markets by allowing almost any company to buy energy directly from renewable producers.”

Learn more about WePower by visiting their website.

Read More Solar News:

Dunsborough Centrepoint Solar Project

Dunsborough Centrepoint solar – the shopping complex is set for a renewables upgrade, with the owners set to invest in a $1m solar panel upgrade on the roof of the shopping centre.

Dunsborough Centrepoint Solar Project

We’ve written quite a lot about shopping centre solar in the past – and today another centre has announced a significant investment in trying to offset their energy usage and 

According to quotes in TheWest, manager of Dunsborough Centrepoint, John Reid, discussed their rationale for the installation:

“We want to peg our growing electricity bills, and after the seven year buyback period ,we hope to pass those savings on to our tenants,” he said. “It’s the single biggest solar installation in Dunsborough and it’s not cheap, but we’re hoping it will have long-term benefits.”

“The long-term investment is an example to businesses that you can invest in the environment by handling the capital by monitoring what you are capable of producing,” Mr Reid continued.

“We will be transparent with how things are tracking and are happy to provide advice to other existing businesses contemplating an investment in solar.”

TheWest also quoted Busselton Mayor Grant Henley who commended the project for its reduction of energy consumption and positive impact on the environment.

Dunsborough is a coastal town in the South West of Western Australia, approximately 250 kilometres south of Perth, located on the shores of Geographe Bay. They’ve been in the news (and Saving With Solar) previously for the Dunsborough Community Energy Project, a virtual power plant with no upfront cost solar for local residents. 

Solar Quotes wrote last year about the Dunsborough Primary School and its goal to run on 100% renewable energy, so the area has already got a high commercial solar and residential solar installation . 

Dunsborough Centrepoint Shopping Centre
Dunsborough Centrepoint Shopping Centre (source: stockerpreston.com.au)

Articles about some of the other schools in Australia who have installed renewable energy and are looking to minimise their exposure to cost fluctuations and help the environment are as follows:

Visit the official Dunsborough Centrepoint website by clicking here

If you’d like to read more articles about solar on shopping centres please click below.

 

Read More Solar News: