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Exclusive: Schwartz goes solar in the Hunter Valley

Lovedale solar lights

The NSW Hunter Valley village of Lovedale has finally had its name put on the map, courtesy of an innovative environmental project that includes installation of a large bank of solar panels on the roof of the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley to spell out the name of the town.

The initiative was instigated by the Schwartz Family Company, owners of the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Lovedale Brewery and Hunter Valley Conference and Events Centre, which effectively form the ‘village’ of Lovedale.

The 99.58kWp solar plant will significantly reduce the venue’s reliance on ‘traditional’ energy sources, and will lead to a CO2/greenhouse gas reduction of 164,384.1 kg per annum.

The installation of the solar panels is part of an integrated environmental project that also included the development of a ‘co-generation’ plant.

The co-generation plant involves the simultaneous production of two forms of energy, electricity and heat, from a single fuel source (gas), which is used by the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley in its daily operations.

The waste heat produced in the co-generation process is then used for production of hot water and heating in the hotel, as well as heating the large swimming pool, production of potable water and use in the Lovedale Brewery production process.

Schwartz Family Company Director, Dr Jerry Schwartz, said that the environmental initiative would help reduce the venue’s environmental footprint, while at the same time promoting the Lovedale name to visitors.

“Lovedale is well known for the Crowne Plaza, the area’s wineries and the Lovedale Long Lunch, but no one knows quite where it is, and with our clever use of the solar panels we’ve spelled out precisely where Lovedale is,” said Dr Schwartz.

“In the past few years we’ve added the Lovedale Brewery and the Hunter Valley Conference and Events Centre, making Lovedale an increasingly important destination within the Hunter Valley.

“Its reputation for being in the midst of a beautiful landscape made it appropriate that we should use a green-initiative to shine a light on the Lovedale name.

“The opening of the Hunter Valley Conference and Events Centre a year ago means that at times we have over 1000 people across the venue, so the installation of the solar panels and the co-generation plant was an ideal solution to meeting our energy needs while minimising our environmental impact,” Dr Schwartz said.

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