Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Vineyard harvests the sun

Adelaide Advertiser
22 March 2011, Page: 35

THE Clare Valley's Mt Surmon Wines has adopted renewable energy to protect itself against rising electricity prices and declining grape sales. Owner Burt Surmon has installed a $73,000 10 kW solar power system on his 35ha property, 20ha of which is under vines. With government rebates, the system cost almost $50,000, but it's the long term value that encouraged the switch.

"As vineyard owners, we have been conscious of our environmental needs and the solar installation was an extension of that thinking", Mr Surmon said. "But the other reality is that the wine industry isn't travelling all that well,.. So we put some money on the roof to help us generate passive income (through the feed in tariff)". The system, which can generate up to 45 kW a day, will be paid back over seven years with a 16% return on investment, he said.