November 2016 – Lourensford Estate in Somerset West, having invested over R7 million to install 686kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) plants on the roof of the winery and the packshed, has been named Best Farming Practice Winner in the Leadership in Energy Conservation category at the Nedbank Green Wine Awards 2016 for the second consecutive year.
The historic farm on the slopes of the Helderberg invests in sustainable energy to reduce electricity costs, with the solar plants contributing an expected carbon emission reduction of 987 tonnes per year. The 500kWh solar plant (3300m2) on the winery roof and the 186kWh solar plant (1300m2) on the packshed roof, generate 2800kWh daily, enough to run the winery with the surplus fed to the grid supplying the rest of the estate.
“Our vision is one where economic stability and environmental sustainability go hand in hand in a profitable partnership,” says Koos Jordaan, GM of Lourensford Estate. “The solar power plant forms part of our sustainable agriculture and conservation programme, which has also seen Lourensford protect about 1200 hectares of Fynbos and plant an extensive Protea farm across 18 hectares.”
Energy Saving in the winery:
- Smart metering installed (real-time computerised measuring of electricity usage to guide future practices)
- Procedures put into effect regarding the switching on and off of the compressors
- Refrigeration chiller software adjusted for more effective energy use
- ‘Time of use’ communication to staff on ‘red’ expensive times of energy use
- Installing energy saving bulbs in the winery
Energy Saving on the broader estate:
- All homesteads on the farm have been switched to prepaid electricity
- Timers and blankets installed on geysers
- Tracker units gathering live data were installed on tractors and farm vehicles to monitor performance and reduce fuel consumption
- Inverters installed on pumps to ease start-ups
- The farm runs annual Earth Protection Awareness training sessions for all staff
Owned by business mogul Christo Wiese, the Estate has about 100 hectares of vines. Venues and activities include the Millhouse Kitchen Restaurant, a coffee roastery and art gallery. The farm hosts weekend markets, as well as cycling and trail-running events. Follow their progress on the Lourensford website, Facebook, Twitter (@lourensford) and Instagram (@lourensford).