Solar Sauvignon Blanc

My mate, Bernard, is one of the few people who makes me feel lazy. Not only does he run a successful vineyard, he’s always got some new scheme on the go. Whether it’s becoming a master of judo or operating a non-profit, he manages to excel at everything he turns his hand to. His latest project is getting the vineyard off the grid.

Of course, this will probably take time to come to fruition, but Bernard isn’t fazed by the long-range view. I remember him talking about getting a commercial solar energy system installed a couple of years back, and nothing seemed to come of it. But then he brought it up again yesterday. He told me that he’s been keeping an eye on the energy market and biding his time until the photovoltaic technology had levelled up a bit more. 

One issue he’s identified is that the solar panels aren’t going to fly as a power source after dark – at least, not on their own. That’s why he’s budgeted for a system that incorporates battery storage. I know there are companies that install AC-connected energy storage systems in Melbourne; according to Bernard, getting one rigged up in regional Victoria shouldn’t be a problem.   

If I understand correctly, these things let you harvest energy during the sunniest parts of the day and use it when it’s needed – typically, at peak times like the evening, when there’s a higher demand for electricity. I’m not really up on what Bernard’s schedule is like – he seems to be constantly on the go – but I assume he does a bunch of his work at night seeing as he’s courting clients on the other side of the globe. So it makes more than a bit of sense to go with the battery system.

Although Bernard is definitely up on the sustainability stuff, I suspect it’s the prospect of the various ‘green’ credentials on offer that’s pushed him over the edge. He’s been saying for a while now that sustainable wine is the future of booze.