De Bortoli winery completes largest solar installation

In an Australian winery

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Produce to Platter Yarra Valley and the Dandenongs - De Bortoli Winery

Produce to Platter Yarra Valley and the Dandenongs - De Bortoli Winery

De Bortoli King Valley
Produce to Platter Yarra Valley and the Dandenongs - De Bortoli Winery


De Bortoli unveils wine industry’s largest solar PV and solar thermal system

De Bortoli Wines Bilbul Estate officially launched its new photovoltaic generator and solar thermal pre-heater system on Thursday 17th October. The 230 kW solar PV generator and the 200 kW thermal preheater are both individually the largest installed of their kind at any Australian winery to date.

Victor De Bortoli, Export Director of the third-generation family wine company, officiated proceedings at the estate, located near Griffith Australia.

The two solar power installations will save many tens of thousands of dollars per year for the winery through offset electricity and gas consumption, and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the site by more than 314 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

The solar PV system was designed and constructed by Adelaide-based power system integrator The Solar Project with 960 German designed and manufactured Q CELLS solar PV modules.

Project alliance-partner Australian-owned solar hot water manufacturer Apricus Australia, and Albury- based Fletcher Plumbing & Co, delivered the solar thermal pre-heater: also one of Australia’s largest, and the largest of its kind for an Australian winery. The 2700 evacuated tube solar thermal array will provide process heat for the winery’s bottling operations.

The Solar Project have recently completed a similar sized project at d’Arenberg winery in the McClaren Vale, and is due to construct another 200kW facility for another SA winery before the year is out.

Installations of commercial-scale solar can be at risk when shortcuts are taken with project management and product selection, the project’s Director of Sales and Business Development, David Buetefuer, said:

“We’re increasingly finding business owners and those in the wine and food production sector are demanding durable, quality, solutions that will reduce their outgoings for power over the long term, without failure.

“When designing an industrial grade solution, more than 95% of the solar panels and a large portion of the balance of electrical systems available in the Australian market don’t meet our quality baseline for consideration. For these winery projects, each client has chosen to invest a little extra in up-front capital costs to ensure their project is designed and project managed correctly, and components have been selected to maximise their long term returns.”

Those choosing solar photovoltaic do need to be cautious: “There are many cases in some power networks in Australia where small commercial energy users have ended up worse off after installing solar panels. You really need to know the regulations that govern connections well,” David said.

“It’s worth being picky about who delivers your project, the advice they provide and the components they supply. Many solar suppliers today are simply sales machines with no appreciation of the complexities of project management and engineering /technical expertise. We’re happy to provide expert advice to Australian grape growers and winemaking businesses considering solar, particularly regarding how the distribution network will treat them after solar has been installed.”

“Choosing a panel that can withstand Australia’s harsh climate as well as out-perform industry standards is a priority when choosing a commercial system,” Oliver Hartley, Managing Director of Hanwha Q CELLS Australia said. “Ensuring that your manufacturer is financially stable is also critical.”

As part of the official opening in Griffith, a cluster meeting will also take place in the morning for local wineries and other businesses that are looking at becoming more sustainable in their business practices. It will be headed by Jo Polkinghorne, Facilitator for Sustainable Advantage in NSW in conjunction with De Bortoli Wines, The Solar Project and Apricus Australia. Q CELLS’ Oliver Hartley will also present on the benefits of solar from a global perspective at this meeting.

The Solar Project will also host a Clean Energy Enterprise Round Table event in the afternoon for larger consumers of power (300MWh+ or over $120,000 in power bills annually) to highlight the importance of project management, understanding of tier-one technical equipment and financing options available that make solar more attractive to businesses as part of medium to large scale solar projects. Oliver will make a presentation on why commercial PV makes sense.


  • Riverina (NSW)

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October 17th, 2013
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