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Project Summary 
System size98.6 kWp
Panel Type295W Tier 1 Trina Solar Honey M Plus
InvertersFronius Eco 27.0 kW 3PH Inverter
MonitoringFronius Solar Web
Financial / Environmental Highlights 
Estimated payback period (years)3
Levelised cost of energy (25 years) c/kWh2
First year C02e reduction (kg)84,640


ZEN Energy designed and installed a 98.6 kW solar solution at Coriole Winery in the world-renowned McLaren Vale wine region. The solution included 335 x 295W Tier 1 Trina Solar Honey M Plus panels, 3 Fronius Eco Inverters and Fronius Solar Web Monitoring. This expert ZEN Energy solution is estimated to pay itself back to the owners in just over 3 years and deliver energy to the winery at around 2 cents per kilowatt-hour.

About the project

Founded by the Lloyd family in 1969, the beautiful Coriole winery is located amongst the picturesque vineyards of McLaren Vale to the south of Adelaide in South Australia. While the estate is made up of mostly shiraz vines, with some as old as 1919, it is also famous for being home to Australia’s first Sangiovese and Fiano vineyards.

Coriole keeps a keen focus on sustainable technologies and practices as part of their winery operations, with several projects already underway to restore native vegetation and use bio management to produce their own compost and green manures. With the winery sights set on the future, General Manager Mark Lloyd saw solar as the next big step and was pleasantly surprised by the benefits this next green project could provide to their bottom line.

“We were thinking that this is the future, so when we discovered the payoff period was surprisingly good, financially, it made a lot of sense”

Installing the project

After receiving quotes from a range of companies, Mark wasn’t sure which solution was the best choice. However, a recommendation from an engineer quickly swayed him toward ZEN Energy as a provider that could be trusted with the winery’s renewable energy needs.

“One of the engineers we had used to conduct an audit highly recommended ZEN, they seemed like a great option”

ZEN Energy conducted a thorough analysis of the winery’s energy usage patterns to determine the solution that would not only be technically sound and designed to suit their needs but also deliver optimum financial benefits for the business.

From the analysis, ZEN designed and installed a 98.6kW solar solution on the production shed at the winery. The solution included 335 x 295W solar panels, 3 Fronius Eco Inverters and Fronius Solar Web Monitoring.

“Initially, we were thinking we’d only seek a 20 to 30kW system, but it became obvious that 100kW was going to be most effective from all points of view.”

“ZEN’s installers were great and they showed a high level of customer service. We were really happy with the result.”

How the system works

For Coriole and most other wineries, their refrigeration units can make up “60-70 percent” of their entire electricity bills according to Mark. However, thanks to Coriole’s new ZEN solar solution being installed, this will no longer be the case as it’s helping to significantly lower their operating costs and reduce the impact of the refrigeration unit on their power bills.

The panels for this system are orientated on a northerly aspect of the winery’s barrel and warehouse sheds, designed to deliver energy throughout the day and help offset energy intensive operations across the winery site. A key consideration in the system design was the need to avoid the shading of nearby trees and make sure the shed was structurally sound. ZEN managed to do this by carefully tailoring a solution during the pre-installation process.

Project outcomes

ZEN’s approach is all about helping energy users find a balance and freedom with their energy, which is exactly what Mark is trying to achieve for Coriole.

“Next is really learning how to best use the solar and how to fit our demand or any future machinery into our new solar supply.”

It’s an investment that provides a payback at a little over 3 years and an effective return on investment of over 30%, which is significantly better than nearly any other investment opportunity available to Australian businesses. It is also forecast to deliver energy to the site at a little over 2 cents per kilowatt-hour or less which is much lower than the winery’s previous grid electricity tariff.

According to, Coriole’s annual carbon offset of around 85,000 kg’s of c02e from their ZEN solar solution is equivalent to planting around 850 trees annually. In addition to this and their other environmental initiatives, Coriole is in a strong position to cater to the exponentially growing demand for sustainable products, providing them a competitive advantage in today’s ‘green’ consumer market.

On a final note, Mark offered some advice to other businesses and wineries thinking about installing a solar solution,

“Apart from being just financially justifiable, it’s really satisfying for staff, they all really like the idea of a big solar system operating at the winery. Definitely consider solar.”

Mark Lloyd | General Manager – Coriole Winery

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