Everyone loves sunshine, especially a winemaker thinking of Galileo's famous quote 'Wine is sunlight, held together by water'. But we have new reasons to value the sun, with the development of a large solar farm in our bottom paddock. As some of our least vineyard-suitable land, it was not being well utilised, but is now the site of Mount Majura Solar Farm, capable of generating up to a nominal 2.3 MW of power into the electricity grid.
The solar farm has 7,340 panels , mounted on ‘self-powered’ single-axis tracking technology that maximises the sunlight intercepted. The tracking devices can improve a PV system’s output by up to 40% over a fixed-tilt system. The 'NEXTracker SPT' units have up to 120 degrees of rotation – allowing them to follow the sun as it moves east to west through the sky.
The solar farm will contribute to the ACT’s 100% renewable energy target, providing 4,500 MWh/year, or the equivalent amount of energy to power 615 Canberra homes. Two important steps remain in completion of the project. Installation of solar panels in a separate system on the winery roof will allow much of the winery's energy needs to be met sustainably. And landscaping around the solar farm will help screen it and maintain the rural character of our beautiful Majura Valley.
A second stage to the solar farm project could see an additional 1MW of capacity added as Australia's largest community-owned solar project. See Solar Share's website for more information.