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BT_SOLAR3THE WINE INDUSTRY going solar is about as hot as you can get right now and Stephanie Timotheou was on hand when McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg flicked the switch for its 200kW solar photovoltaic (PV) generator.

It rained, it poured and then it got worse, causing a blackout in a warehouse full of barrels, but McLaren Vale’s d’Arenberg still managed to cut the ribbon and launch its solar PV generator – the biggest of its kind in South Australia.

The 200kW system is expected to save the winery more than $47,000 per year through offset electricity consumption and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 per cent – or more than 181 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

It was designed and constructed by Adelaide-based commercial power system integrator The Solar Project just months following the installation of a 230kW solar PV system at NSW’s De Bortoli Wines.

With 800 German-designed and European-made solar photovoltaic modules, the system is well-suited to the harsh Australian climate and d’Arenberg’s rooftop array.

At the official commissioning and launch in December, groups of no more than 10 at a time scaled the stairs – and faced their fear of heights – to get a bird’s eye view of the solar panels.

While Solar Project director of sales and business development David Buetefuer answered questions, d’Arenberg winemaker Chester Osborn was on the spot to flick the switch – and managed to avoid being electrocuted in the process as the storm raged.



Buetefuer said the company was proud to be able to provide Australian wineries with systems helping achieve clean technology outcomes.

“We are proud to be assisting winemakers such as d’Arenberg and other South Australian businesses achieve clean technology outcomes which make commercial sense using high quality components, and as a result of an appropriate project management and engineering process,” he said.

He hoped the instalment at d’Arenberg encouraged other wineries and the broader food and beverage sector to pursue energy efficient business practices through clean energy supply.


Third-generation family winemaker d’Arry Osborn recalled the day electricity was first connected at d’Arenberg in 1951 and said he never thought the winery would be able to produce its own.

In addition to the instalment of a solar PV generator, Osborn mentioned several other initiatives the winery has put in place to become “greener” and more efficient.

“We now recycle 100 per cent of wastewater on-site, we’ve introduced organic practices to our vineyards, and we are leading the McLaren Vale Sustainable Winemaking Program.”

Additional green measures such as a refrigeration monitoring system, LED lighting and insulation and setting aside significant areas of land to preserve the region’s biodiversity are also being considered.

Chester Osborn said this is the second solar project d’Arenberg has undertaken with the first being installed in McLaren Flat two years ago.

His philosophy has always been to have minimal input on the vineyard and said d’Arenberg hasn’t fertilised most of its vineyards for 20 years.

“Because of this the grapes have thicker skins, more flavour, there’s more soil character, more minerality and better acidity – this has been a big thing of mine and other vineyards in the area are slowly getting on the bandwagon too which is great to see,” he said.

Earlier this year The Solar Project launched solar systems at Tanunda’s Barossa Vintners and at De Bortoli Wines in NSW.


David Buetefuer. Phone: 0406 830 607. Email: david@thesolarproject.com.au.

Tash Stoodley. Phone: 61 8 8329 4825. Email: tash@darenberg.com.au.