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How one winegrower with photovoltaic panels is counting his blessings

By Vitisphere September 21, 2022
How one winegrower with photovoltaic panels is counting his blessings
Using crushed vine canes to heat his winery buildings, Philippe Carrille stresses that “the aim today is to head towards total self-sufficiency, to avoid being dependent on anyone else” - crédit photo : Solarwatt
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ldquo;When electricity was cheap, people looked at me strangely, telling me that my solar panels were an indulgence. Now that prices are rising, nobody’s laughing any more...” says Philippe Carrille, the winegrower at the helm of Château Poupille, with his dry sense of humour. The estate boasts 23 hectares in the Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux appellation and 10 hectares in Saint-Émilion that are certified organic. For the past 15 years, his property has been using solar energy, first with 500 m² of photovoltaic panels in steel tanks where the electric is sold back to the grid (20-year contract). More recently, in 2018, 200 m² of bi-glass panels have been fitted to the winery for its own consumption, producing a maximum of 33.6 kiloWatts of peak power and 12 kWh storage batteries.

Over the past year, 120 solar panels mounted on the roof of the winery have supplied the estate with 84% of its electricity needs. “We're not far off self-sufficiency”, says a delighted Carrille, who notes that a lot of electricity will have been used in 2022 to keep his wine inventories at the right temperature over the hot summer months. To keep his 3,000 hectolitres stored in vats and barrels at 17°C, an unusually high amount of electric was required, using 4 cooling units. “We had to keep the wines cool – otherwise we’d have turned them into Banyuls!” says the organic winegrower, who intends to improve the insulation of one of his storage buildings, claiming that the best energy is the one you don’t use.

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All Comments (1)
William Woodruff Le 23 septembre 2022 à 17:39:32
Bravo!
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