Wineries lead down solar path
Rickety Gate Wines’ Russell and Linda Hubbard inspect plans to install 92 solar panels at their Denmark winery with Great Southern Solar owners Don and Sonia Anderson.

Three Great Southern wineries are leading the way for an industry switch to solar power by installing systems partly funded through the Federal Government’s clean technology investment program.

As part of the one-for-one grants program, which encourages companies to become more energy efficient by reducing carbon emissions, Frankland River winery Ferngrove and Denmark’s Matilda’s Estate and Rickety Gate Wines will install solar power systems to reduce their grid-power consumption and operating costs.

Rickety Gate and Matilda’s will receive $67,887 and $40,643 respectively to install and activate solar power systems before August, while Ferngrove will receive a $446,390 grant.

The solar power systems will be installed by Great Southern Solar.

Great Southern Solar co-owner Sonia Anderson said the grants were a “fantastic injection of funding” into solar initiatives in the region.

“Solar power is really taking off across the region,” she said.

“There are regional benefits as well. At certain times of year it will feed into the grid and green up the surrounding area.

“Grid support is really important down here because it reduces peak power demand so the rest of us get more stable electricity supply.” Rickety Gate owner Russell Hubbard said the solar-system installation was part of a greater plan for the winery to become 100 per cent carbon-neutral.

“The bottom line is the production of white wine consumes huge amounts of energy because of the cold stabilisation process it needs to go through to eliminate crystals forming in the wine,” he said.

“It’s been of great concern for me, the energy consumed just for the sake of appearance. Our motivation is so we can drink top-quality wine while having no impact on the environment.”

Mr Hubbard said plans were underway to install a wind turbine at the winery, which would make Rickety Gate 100 per cent carbon-neutral within 12 months.

For more information about the grants program visit www.ausindustry.gov.au or contact AusIndustry on 13 28 46.

katherine.mountain@albanyadvertiser.com

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