Vrede en Lust leads the charge in the Cape’s solar-powered wine farms
 

More and more of the Cape’s wine farms are embracing solar-powered, renewable energy sources in the drive to reduce their carbon footprint, and increase their bottom-line while they’re at it. The Vrede en Lust winery, in the stunning Franschhoek wine valley, stands at the forefront of this paradigm shift away from conventional (fossil fuel) energy consumption.

 

Freedom from the grid and a lust for all living things

 

Vrede en Lust has installed a massive 220 kVA solar-power generating system, which has not only furthered their aims to become a carbon neutral winery, but is also the first project to be approved under Eskom’s rebate scheme for small-scale renewable energy. This forward thinking philosophy, guided by the passions of general manager and viticulturalist, Etienne Buys, serves multiple goals at the same time:

  • Drastically reducing energy costs;
  • Less reliance on an unpredictable national power supply
  • Demonstrating a corporate responsibility towards the environment
  • Increasing consumer faith in their product.

Over its 30 year life span, this solar photovoltaic system will save more than 11 000 tons of carbon dioxide, fifteen million litres of water, 6 200 tons of coal and nearly 2000 tons of ash.

 

Why now is the time to go solar

 

Despite farmers’ concerns over the capital costs involved in turning to renewable energy, there has been a demonstrated return on investment of less than eight years. A 2014 Report by the Global Commission  on the Economy and Climate found that renewable energy sources have rapidly emerged as large-scale, and economically viable, alternatives to fossil fuels. There are three main reasons why renewable energy is fast becoming cheaper than conventional energy:

  1. A reduction in solar photovoltaic system costs
  2. Increased efficiency in the private sector
  3. Increasing operating and maintenance costs of coal-fired energy sources

Added to the cost-saving implications of solar power are the mounting benefits of moving away from an increasingly unstable power grid, ensuring protection from higher-than-inflation increases in energy costs as well as from dreaded power outages.

 

Environmental benefits of solar power

 

Climate change is not a myth perpetuated by the scientific community to destroy capitalist ventures: it is an ever-increasing and recognised environmental risk to sustainable development. Solar power produces approximately zero greenhouse gas emissions. Solar power has no noticeable air or water pollution emissions. The sun provides a vast and constantly replenished energy source, meaning that investing in solar power on your farm will bear fruit for generations to come.

Three steps to becoming more carbon neutral on your wine farm

  1. Decrease your farm’s reliance on conventional energy sources through making a long-term investment in a solar photovoltaic power system
  2. Source from local manufacturers and industries to reduce transport and installation costs
  3. Investigate Eskom’s rebate scheme for renewable energy technologies and put spare power back into the grid.
 

The future of wine farms

 

Join the ever-growing group of Cape wine farms, spearheaded by the Vrede en Lust winery, as they reap both the environmental and financial rewards of the renewable energy revolution! Contact Soventix for an assessment and quote today.

 
 
 
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