Sirromet Wines has installed a new 200 kilowatt solar power system at its headquarters near Brisbane that will cut operating costs and reduce its annual carbon footprint by more than 400 tonnes.

The Mount Cotton winery began fitting the 800 Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, each rated 250 watts in July this year to the roofs of their two largest buildings, which were activated earlier this month. 

Sirromet’s Operations Manager Alex Sey says plans for the solar power system were initiated about 18 months ago as part of Sirromet’s ongoing efforts to make its operations as environmentally sustainable as possible following a carbon emissions audit of the company.

Since opening in 2000, Sirromet has had numerous on-site environmental projects, including ‘green’ waste management, reducing dependence on mains water by collecting rainwater and recycling wastewater, and using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recyclable plastic as an alternative to glass for bottling selected wines.

Sey says the new system cost approximately $400,000 is one of the biggest solar power systems of its type in Queensland for a private company such as Sirromet.

“You could power 40 to 50 medium-to-large family homes with 200 kilowatts.

“It will save us about $50,000 a year, or 20 per cent of our power costs, and benefit the environment by reducing our annual carbon emissions by more than 400-tonnes,” he says.

The largest of the two arrays at Sirromet is 528 panels, located on the roof above a building which includes a barrel room, storage and bottling areas, the cellar door, and offices.

There is another array of 272 panels on a roof above the wine tank area, in the same building as Restaurant Lurleen’s.

“We wanted to go down the solar route because it’s better for the environment, plus we have equipment unique to a winery that use high volumes of power,” he says.

These include pumps for 97 refrigerated wine tanks, and a fridge plant to maintain a constant temperature of 17 degrees in a storage area for 500,000 bottles of wine.

“There is also general power usage for the restaurant, the cellar door, offices, the waste plant, and other things,” he says.

Sirromet has won a total of 44 gold medals in Australia and overseas for its wines, with over 100 hectares of vineyards at Mount Cotton and on the Granite Belt.

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