The installation of what claims to be the largest solar PV array at an Australian winery – and one of the largest commercial solar installations in the state of South Australia – has reach the half-way mark.
The progress of the 1.4MW array, which began construction in August, was marked on Wednesday by project partners AGL Energy and Yalumba Family Vignerons at the site of the iconic Barossa Valley winery.
The PV system, made up of 5,384 panels, is being installed across three locations, including the Angaston Winery, Oxford Landing Winery and the Yalumba Nursery. It is expected to cut the wine maker’s energy bill by 20 per cent, annually.
The mid-project milestone was significant enough to draw AGL’s chief Andy Vesey, who attended the event alongside SA’s minister for environment and climate, Ian Hunter.
Vesey, who last week spoke out in defence of renewables in the wake of South Australia’s “system black” event, again stressed the importance of distributed generation in providing energy security to business and homes.
“Solar installations like this one at Yalumba also demonstrate how distributed energy can empower businesses and communities in regional as well as urban areas, providing them with greater control of their energy usage and costs,” he added.
“It can also increase resilience should supply be compromised for any reason such as the outages South Australia experienced a few weeks ago due to severe weather.
“As Australia’s largest private owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation we welcome the opportunity to help Yalumba enhance its already impressive track record in sustainability,” Vesey said.
Yalumba Managing Director Nick Waterman said sustainability was paramount to the core values of the family-run business, which has been in operation for 166 years.
“This installation has been the result of a strong, collaborative effort between the Yalumba winemaking services department and AGL over the last 18 months. It is an exciting project and one that will deliver us significant savings, as well as being consistent with our corporate focus on sustainability,” he said.
Installation of the 1.4MW solar system is expected to be completed in December this year.