Large South African Wine Distributor Turns To Solar Power


dgb_solar_Panel_plant-e1448429700537Cape Town-based Terra Firma Solutions (Pty) Ltd Designed and installed 800kW solar plant at the Douglas Green Bellingham (DGB) wine facility. The Solar system which is currently still being fitted will become the single largest rooftop solar photovoltaic plant on any wine producing facility in South Africa of which 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 wine facility and will cover an area of over 6200m² and is set for completion in March 2016.

Ree du Toit, DGB Production Director says “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.”

Wines of SA, a not-for-profit industry organisation that promotes the export of all South African wine in key international markets, has a wide focus on sustainability and conservation of the Western Cape’s natural environment.

“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.

ProductionThe 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.

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”

Besides providing solar power to the day-to-day operation of the DGB facility, the new energy source will also benefit the Drakenstein community.