Solar Power: Sustainability that means
Family owned Marlborough Winery Spy Valley
Wines has flicked the switch and is now generating some of
its own power, via recently installed solar panels.
mid-August, 211 solar panels were installed on the roof of
Spy Valley’s winery, creating a 52KW solar power system.
It officially started generating power for the winery in
The installation of these solar panels makes
Spy Valley Winery the largest solar producing winery in New
Zealand. Spy Valley’s system is believed to be the 5th
largest solar system in New Zealand.
widely acknowledged as one of the sunniest destinations in
the country. I had often wondered why solar power generation
wasn’t more widely used in the region,” said Blair
Gibbs, General Manager of Spy Valley Wines, which is widely
regarded as one of Marlborough’s most successful
“Solar power technology has
rapidly evolved, with many developments made over the last
three years. However, there have been no incentives or
subsidies from either local or central government to
encourage businesses to adopt the use of such technology. We
did our own research though, and once we had a solid
understanding of the components, and the return on
investment equation was worked out, we decided to
Spy Valley Winery power usage for the year-end
30 June 2013 was 610,000 KW. This installation of the solar
panels will generate some 15% of estimated future usage. The
payback period is calculated to be eight years but will
reduce as power prices increase, which is a long-term trend.
Spy Valley hopes that they will be able to produce their own
electricity in future for $0.06 per kWh, a substantial
reduction on current market prices.
Solar Synergy undertook the power system installation.
Director of Solar Synergy, Karl Maltesen said: “It has
been really exciting to be involved with Spy Valley as they
uncover the many benefits of solar power generation. We hope
other businesses notice what they are doing and that this
will promote solar power further. With Spy Valley as
advocates, we are confident that others will
Put simply, solar panels work by absorbing
light from the sun. Semi conductors mounted onto the panels
absorb the light, exciting electrons. The Direct Current
produced is then converted into alternating current, thus
creating usable power.
Early results show the system is
performing well above the initial expectation.
rationale for us to adopt solar power was mainly to reduce
our own power costs, and to become more aware of how much we
actually consume. We have a reputation as innovators and
hope that our adoption of solar power, even just for partial
power generation, can be held up as an example to other
“Much is made of marketing sustainability.
It takes many forms and means different things to different
businesses and markets. For us, using solar energy is a
sound business investment, which in turn supports
sustainability. It ‘s a no-brainer!” said Blair