IT’S produced some of the Hunter’s finest wines, now Drayton’s Family Wines is setting the pace in renewable energy innovation.
The vineyard switched on its new 200 kilowatt solar system, one of the largest in the region, yesterday.
The 800-panel array can produce 1200 kilowatts, or enough power for 40 average homes.
The project was funded on a 50-50 basis under the former Australian Government Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment program.
General manager John Drayton estimated the system would eventually save the business more than $80,000 a year.
‘‘It will pay for itself in the next four years and after that the savings will come off the bottom line,’’ Mr Drayton said.
Parliamentary secretary for industry and member for Paterson Bob Baldwin said businesses needed to innovative to be competitive.
‘‘Drayton’s Family Wines now has the power to increase their production, reduce costs and increase their exports to growing markets like China,’’ Mr Baldwin said.
‘‘This can only be good for the Hunter. This is a great example of business working in partnership with the government.”