Three thousand Apricus evacuated tubes were installed at the De Bortoli Winery in Griffith, NSW, marking the largest solar thermal installation on a winery in Australasia.

De Bortoli Wines were looking to expand their bottling lines to keep up with increased demand. This offered an opportunity for the company to increase efficiency of the production line.

This was achieved with the help of a 230kW photovoltaic solar system and the 200kW Apricus solar thermal plant, which join with wall and ceiling insulation, highly efficient HVAC systems and condensing boilers to reduce the plant’s overall energy usage.

The 3,000 Apricus evacuated tubes preheat 12,000 litres of storage for the winery’s new bottling plant, dramatically reducing its gas consumption.

The collectors were mounted on a 37 degree pitch to maximise solar performance during the winter months.

With their built-in frost protection (-15°C rating without glycol) and high temperature performance, the evacuated tubes were a perfect fit for the application.

“After commissioning, the system was powered on from 8am with a starting water temperature of 20°C. The system achieved 12,000 litres of storage at a temperature of 71°C by 3.30pm," reported Paul Fletcher of Fletcher Plumbing Co.

"It was great to finally switch the Apricus system on, and have it work so well off the bat.”

While De Bortoli’s commercial hot water system was custom-designed specifically to suit the bottling plant’s needs, the Apricus evacuated tube solar hot water system is available for both commercial and residential applications.

Lightweight, durable and robust in construction, these hot water systems usually weigh less than 100 kilograms. Additional benefits of the system include the Apricus aluminium mounting frame, which was designed to meet cyclonic wind conditions, and is ideal for beachfront coastal applications where corrosion can be an issue.