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New start-up encourages wine industry’s transition to green energy

Solar Architects Australia founders Andrew Gilham and Richard Horsley. Image courtesy Forward Comms

The wine industry’s shift to sustainable power is being assisted by a supplier of solar energy systems with a focus on the wider drinks industry.

Start-up Solar Architects Australia says it has have moved into its second year of operation and continues towards the goal of improving sustainability amongst Australia’s drinks producers.

The company specialises in designing and managing the installation of energy systems in wineries and breweries and says it provide analysis to match the site’s system needs.

After visiting ProWein, the world’s largest wine fair, founder Richard Horsley was struck by how many of their warehouses flashed solar panels – even though Germany was blanketed in thick snow for most of the winter.

After returning home he later accepted a job in the solar industry – where he later became acquainted with business partner Andrew Gilham.

Horsley approached Gilham, who he knew had a rich history in amplifying sustainability in the alcohol and events industry.

Merging their passions for sustainability with alcohol production, Solar Architects Australia was born with a vision of help producers go green.

“We knew we could build a bridge between the two worlds,” Richard said.

In supporting the green transition within Australia’s wine regions, the team has worked on projects in Margaret River, Yarra Valley, Hunter Valley and McLaren Vale.

The team has a deep-seated understanding of the unique challenges that come with living rurally.

“Climate change is a big deal in rural areas. People’s awareness on the issue has evolved – you can’t escape it when the land is all you know,” Horsley said.

“We certainly don’t solely work with wineries and breweries, but they’re absolutely our main demographic.

“From droughts, to floods and fires, rural people have a lot of battles to fight. It’s pretty rare you see politicians and whatnot heading out to regional areas, other than for a photo opportunity.

“While rural Australians have realised climate action is a fight that needs to be tackled head-on, something else has also drawn them to ponder solar power.

“Immediately, switching to solar power can save them money. I guess that’s where it stemmed from – I was exposed to all sides of the industry, and realised how much rural folk need to save across every area of their business.

Every dollar counts, and solar energy can immediately get them a return or save operating money within their business that they can use elsewhere.

“We’re in a very exciting time for renewable energy, in terms of technology development, economy of scale and government. To me, Australia’s transition to renewable energy is our greatest opportunity yet,” Gilham said.

“Things like solar batteries and electric vehicles are coming faster than we appreciate.”

 

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