Monday, March 1, 2010

Solar Power Boost for Elderton

Family-owned Barossa winery, Elderton, has been granted an $85,000 boost from the federal government, green-lighting what is to be one of the biggest solar powered winery projects in Australia.

The grant, which was confirmed today through AusIndustry’s Retooling for Climate Change programme, bolsters the winery's environmental initiatives that have been implemented over the past 5 years. It will see a major solar panel grid erected on the winery premises in Nuriootpa, which will be able to generate 150kW of clean power daily. Elderton will also be contributing significantly to the project.

The panels will complement their cellar door, which is already operating on solar driven energy, and will enable full winery production on free and clean power from the sun. Cameron Ashmead, co-Managing Director of Elderton, commented "We are absolutely ecstatic to see the grant approved, which will be a major addition to our sustainable business programme, and a great win for the Barossa in general".

Elderton has been an industry leader in incorporating green initiatives into their day to day operations, having been one of the fist wineries in Australia to be fully accredited carbon neutral. The winery, which is increasingly turning to organic and biodynamic vineyard principles, also recycles all of its waste water, and has also undertaken a river regeneration project on their estate vineyard to bring back biodiversity.

"The solar panels are expected to generate enough electricity to easily satisfy our immediate demand, whilst also exporting excess power back into the public grid — even through peak requirements during vintage, the majority of our power will be generated by the sun", Mr Ashmead commented. "In the challenging times we are currently experiencing, it is important not take our eye off the ball as to the future viability of our estate resources. This project, along with others, will help to ensure the winery is being run as efficiently and environmentally responsible as possible, hopefully safeguarding it for future generations to come."

The winery can expect to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 55 tonnes annually through the new power source, and is aiming to have the system fully operational by the end of this year.

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