Power to the Boland

Marrying sustainability and performance

The DGB solar project dwarfs all other solar projects in the wine industry_lr.jpg

South Africa’s largest independent wine and spirit producer and distributor, DGB, will be drawing a major component of the energy used by its Wellington production facility from the Boland sun, making it a leader in renewable energy in the wine sector. The 800kWp solar installation currently being fitted is the single largest rooftop solar photovoltaic plant on any wine producing facility in South Africa. Designed and installed by Cape Town-based Terra Firma Solutions (Pty) Ltd, the solar power plant will be made up of almost 2 600 solar panels.

The system is being built across four different roofs at the DGB facility, will cover an area of over 6200m² and is set for completion in March 2016.
According to Ree du Toit, DGB Production Director, the project is in line with the company’s sustainability objectives to reduce and mitigate its impact on the environment.

“DGB acknowledges the importance of being a good corporate citizen in South Africa by lowering its carbon footprint through reduced energy consumption,” she says. “With the implementation of solar power we are expecting to save around 1 265 tonnes of CO2 per annum from being emitted to the atmosphere, making us wine industry leaders in the field of renewable energy.”

This saving in carbon emissions is about the equivalent of driving a small car from Cape Town to Johannesburg 5, 550 times per annum. “The project is not only an amazing opportunity to improve the environmental performance of the company but it also makes sound financial sense from a capital investment point of view,” said Du Toit.

The plant will produce an average of 160 000 kWh in the sunny months of January and December. June-July an average of 50 000kWh.
The 25 year life span of the project will also assist in protecting DGB from significant increases in electricity prices which have escalated dramatically over the past few years and look set to do so in the near future.

Besides providing solar power to the day-to-day operation of the DGB facility, the new energy source will also benefit the Drakenstein community.
According to Ed Gluckman, Managing Director of Terra Firma Solutions, the Drakenstein municipality is one of the few municipalities in the country which has a net metering embedded generation tariff available to the public. “This enables the DGB facility to export power back to the grid at the same Rand per kWh rate at which it pays the municipality. There is expected exporting of electricity when the plant reaches its peak power and therefore producing more power than what is required on site during the day.”

Tim Hutchinson, CEO of DGB has expressed this project as paving the way for additional solar plants across the company’s facilities, “This plant will produce over 1.25 million kWh’s in its first year of full operation. With the environmental and financial benefits from investing into projects such as these, the company is investigating renewable energy opportunities across the group.”

Jeanri-Tine van Zyl, Feed That Bird Communication Consultants

The warehouse is the largest rooftop space at the facility with 400kW (50%) capacity_lr.jpg Tim Hutchinshon CEO of DGB_lr.jpg Tim Hutchinson CEO of DGB 2_lr.jpg Tim Hutchinson CEO of DGB with Joschka Thilo Senior Engineer from Terra Firma Solutions_lr.jpg This plant will produce over 1.25 million kWh's in its first year of full operation_lr.jpg
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