The 200 kilowatt solar system at Drayton Family Wines in Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley, SA, was switched on by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry Bob Baldwin who visited the vineyard.

According to Drayton Family Wines, the solar system, along with the installation of energy efficient lighting and an upgraded refrigeration system, is expected to save the company approximately $83,000 per year.

Drayton's Family Wines General Manager John Drayton said he hopes the $445,164 project will encourage other wine producers in the region to invest in energy saving measures.

“The 800 solar panels we have installed have become a talking point in the region. Hopefully other wine producers will follow our example and realise that investments like this are good for business, as well as the environment. After a four-year payback period, we will be making substantial savings,” said Mr Drayton.

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“We also hope to be able to increase production, which will help us meet our strategic goals, including increasing sales internationally, especially to China.”

The solar system was partly funded by a Government grant of $222,582 through the Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program, which is closed to new applications.