Winemaker uncorks 5.6 MW solar farm to power NSW vineyard


Casella Family Brands has flicked the switch on a $10 million solar farm that will help power its primary winemaking site at Yenda, near Griffith in southern New South Wales (NSW). The 8,900-panel solar farm is capable of generating up to 11.5 GWh of clean electricity per year, enough to power the equivalent of about 1,900 homes.

Market analyst SunWiz confirmed it is the largest solar power system directly supplying a beverage producer in Australia and one of the largest to directly supply a private energy consumer.

The Yenda solar farm, constructed by Melbourne-based contractor Next Generation Electrical, features a two-panel tracking system incorporating a smart algorithm to optimise the positioning of the solar panels and allow for maximum sun exposure.

Casella Family Brands’ new solar farm at Yenda.

Image: Casella Family Brands/Vince Bucello

All of the solar farm’s output will be used on site with the generation capacity satisfying approximately 35% of the winery and an on-site brewery’s power needs. Yenda facility processes and bottles the majority of Casella’ wines,

Casella is also developing a second solar farm at the Yenda site. While not yet operational, the facility will help power the company’s wastewater treatment plant and will be capable of generating about 890 MWh of clean energy per year.

The system comprises 936 panels mounted on a 20-degree fixed tilt racking system and will contribute approximately 30% of the treatment plant’s electricity needs.

Casella Managing Director John Casella said the new solar farms are the first step in the company’s journey to reducing its carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieving 100% by 2050.

Casella Family Brands CEO John Casella.

Image: Casella Family Brands/Vince Bucello

“As a family-owned business, we’re committed to playing a role in ensuring the resilience of the Australian wine industry for generations to come,” he said.

“This is also a positive step for our consumers as we know they increasingly care how the products and brands they purchase are made.”

Martin Cole, Chief Executive at government statutory authority Wine Australia, said Casella’s new solar farms are another sign of the recognition from Australian grape and wine businesses of the need to act now towards a lower carbon future for all.

“We know that sustainability is an increasingly high priority for consumers, and Casella’s strong actions to reduce their emissions are an extremely positive step towards the sector’s emissions reduction goals,” he said.

The Casella solar farm is the latest to be rolled out across Australia’s wineries. In 2023, Treasury Wines Estate unveiled a 2.6 MW PV facility at its Barossa Winery in South Australia, after previously installing a 1 MW array at Coldstream Hills, Victoria, a 200 kW system at Penfolds and a 100 kW array at Wynns, both in South Australia.



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