On the path to becoming a climate-neutral winery:

Responsible viticulture for famous Spanish wines with a small carbon footprint

On the path to becoming a climate-neutral winery: Responsible viticulture for famous Spanish wines with a small carbon footprint

Vintner Álvaro Gil Vera

Trailblazer for climate-friendly wine production in Spain

Using PV energy effectively and sustainably: The winery chain Viñas Familia Gil is a prime example of how using SMA technology saves energy costs, boosts energy self-sufficiency and offers added value for the brand. Vintner Álvaro Gil shows how he successfully combines growth with climate neutrality in his family business.

The story: Wine-growing estate steeped in tradition with modern PV technology

The Gil family owns more than 2,000 hectares of vineyards throughout Spain. Many of these are more than 150 years old and are home to famous premium red wines, such as El NIDO, MAS DE CAN BLAU or CLAR DEL BOSC. Predicting at an early stage that tradition and progress are not mutually exclusive, Álvaro Gil Vera began using PV systems back in 2004. Five of the family’s eleven wine-growing estates are now equipped with these systems.

In times of rising energy prices, this investment is paying off more than ever. The Hijos de Juan Gil wine-growing estate in the Murcia region alone saved 97 tons of CO2 in August 2022.

The objective

The Spanish winery chain Viñas Familia Gil wants to become carbon-neutral.

The solution

The wine producer is equipping its wine-growing estates in various parts of Spain with PV systems that generate green electricity for self-consumption. In addition, the company is investing in a PV power plant that feeds large amounts of solar energy into the utility grid.

The result

  1. Viñas Familia Gil has cut its energy costs considerably
  2. The production and use of renewable energies have reduced the company’s carbon footprint significantly
  3. Viñas Familia Gil always refers to its commitment to renewable energies in its media relations
The Gil family enjoying wine from their own wine-growing estate
The Gil family enjoying wine from their own wine-growing estate

Sustainability on many levels

At Viñas Familia Gil, it is not only the electricity that is green. The grapevines are also cultivated in an increasingly environmentally friendly way. Today, organic production accounts for more than 60 percent of their annual volume and is expected to reach 100 percent in the coming years. The company is also stainable in terms of energy: With its already existing five PV systems and the latest commissioning of the PV farm in Jumilla in the Murcia region, where approximately 1,500 MWh of energy is to be generated annually, the winery chain produces more energy than it consumes at its eleven wine-growing estates, and feeds the surplus electricity into the utility grid.

This commitment to sustainability also provides opportunities in the field of communications and marketing. The Hijos de Juan Gil wine-growing estate is part of a select group of only three Spanish wine-growing estates with the Plus certification in the category “Spanish Wineries for Emission Reduction” (WfCP+). These winemakers have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

PV power plant in Jumilla
PV power plant in Jumilla

“Our first PV system was planned by the SMA Solar partner Konery. They recommended SMA as the best option on the market. We had references for SMA as a reliable company with a good reputation and an international orientation. That’s why we opted to pursue this new avenue with SMA. Encouraged by the results, we built all of our additional PV systems with systems from SMA from well. We think that was the best decision we could have made.”

Álvaro Gil Vera

Vintner Álvaro Gil Vera with his grapevines in the background

The SMA system at the Hijos de Juan Gil wine-growing estate

One system. Everything from a single source.

The SMA Commercial Energy Solution at the Hijos de Juan Gil wine-growing estate provides an all-round supply: High-quality, perfectly coordinated components and convenient solutions for monitoring and control. These are all decisive factors for him. The modular design made it easy for him to get started and allowed the system to be upgraded later with no hassle.

Climate-neutral wine production and grid independence

In June 2016, solar power was used at the Hijos de Juan Gil wine-growing estate for the first time. The PV system there is equipped with six Sunny Tripower 25000 inverters from SMA. The vintner also invested in 18 SMA Sunny Island 8.0 battery inverters and numerous batteries. A generator fires up where necessary in order to cover times of peak demand. This means that the wine-growing estate is self-sufficient and its production is also protected against grid failures.

Thanks to the comprehensive energy system, the power of the sun not only ripens the grapes, but also facilitates their processing with the aid of solar energy. In this way, it is possible to save around 80 tons of CO2 each year based on an annual energy yield of around 95 megawatt hours (MWh).

Technical room with Sunny Island battery inverters and batteries
Technical room with Sunny Island battery inverters and batteries

From grape harvest to solar harvest

In 2022, Álvaro Gil Vera and the winery chain further upgraded sustainable organic wine-growing operation. He wanted to become even more climate-friendly and obtain even higher yields – even if his own production activities at the Hijos de Juan Gil wine-growing estate already ran completely on renewable energy and independently of the grid. So the vintner invested in a PV power plant in Jumilla, where a total of nine Sunny Tripower CORE2 inverters now generate around 1,500 MWh per year. They are fed into the utility grid with the aid of an intelligent energy management system via the Sunny Portal and the ennexOS portal – an additional source of income that also saves around 550 tons of CO2 each year – the equivalent of 640 long-haul flights.

PV power plant in Jumilla with an SMA Sunny Tripower CORE2 inverter
PV power plant in Jumilla with an SMA Sunny Tripower CORE2 inverter

Plan your climate neutrality as a small or medium-sized enterprise. With the support of SMA.

SMA has been developing innovative solutions for solar and storage applications, smart energy management systems and cutting-edge charging solutions for a sustainable energy supply for more than 40 years.

From individual planning and professional installation to commissioning and remote maintenance of the system: Thanks to optimal services, the customer benefits right from the start and throughout the entire service life of the system.

Together with our partners and customers, we are shaping the energy transition.

Plan your climate neutrality as a small or medium-sized enterprise. With the support of SMA.
You can find more on this topic in our brochure for SMA Commercial Energy Solutions.

Download

You can find more on this topic in our brochure for SMA Commercial Energy Solutions.

Download now