The Scion Vineyard and Winery in Rutherglen, Australia, is tapping into the local abundant sunshine for more than growing grapes for its wines. Rising infrastructure costs prompted owner and winemaker Rowly Milhinch to install a new hybrid solar energy system for powering the business.
Established in 2002, the winery sits on eight acres south of the Rutherglen township, a small town in northeastern Victoria. About 18 months ago, Milhinch committed to investing in a hybrid system that includes a solar array, a battery storage bank, and a back-up diesel generator that has the capability to use biodiesel, he told the Border Mail. A smart energy management system maximizes efficiency for Scion, which produces reds, whites, rosés, and dessert wines.
In addition to setting up the hybrid solar system over the past two months, the winery installed a Tesla charging station in the parking lot adjacent to the tasting room, called the Cellar Door. That means renewable energy from the new hybrid solar system can go into recharging vehicles for Tesla-driving visitors. The first vehicle recharged was actually Tesla Model X, according to the winery’s Facebook page.
Others in the industry are turning to renewables and new systems for increasing energy efficiency. Last year Jackson Family Wines in Santa Rosa, California, received an Environmental Leader Award for its installation of 21 Tesla Energy stationary energy storage systems, which created 4.2 megawatts of storage capacity in total. Earlier this year, Sierra Nevada Brewing installed a 1-MWh commercial-scale Tesla Powerpack battery system and a 2-megawatt solar array at its plant in Chico, California. And last month, Monticello Vineyards in Napa, California, put in a solar system that the winery expects will offset 95% of its utility bill, saving the company thousands each month in electricity costs.
Even in bad weather, the Scion Vineyard and Winery’s solar panels in a paddock next to the vineyard can provide a third of the energy needed for the business. Milhinch estimates that the hybrid system will make the winery’s energy bill 30% of what it was prior to installation.
“What wasn’t competitive to do three or four years ago is now a viable option,” Milhinch told the paper.