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Yealands completes New Zealand’s largest solar panel installation

The Yealands Wine Group has put up New Zealand’s largest solar panel installation at its vineyard in Marlborough as it reinforces its claim to be the most sustainable winery in the world.

Yealands now has 1,314 photovoltaic panels on its winery roof, which generate 30% of its electricity needs

The new investment in renewable energy means that Yealands is now capable of generating 411.12 kiloWatts of solar power, which is equivalent to powering 86 New Zealand homes, and will offset 82 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Nevertheless, the installation – which comprises a total of 1,314 photovoltaic panels on its winery roof – does not mean that Yealands is self-sufficient: the solar panels will generate 30% of the power necessary for winemaking.

“By increasing the size of our solar array we will decrease our reliance on the national grid and generate 30% of the power we require to power our tank coolers, computers, you name it,” said Peter Yealands, founder and principal of the company.

“I’ve always been passionate about renewable energy and also about self-reliance,” he continued, adding, “We have been carbon neutral since inception but that doesn’t mean we can just sit back – our new solar panels will further help reduce our carbon emissions and keep us true to our claim of being the most sustainable winery in the world.”

Last year, Yealands reduced its electricity consumption from the grid by 10 per cent and CO2 emissions were reduced by 90 metric tonnes.

The new installation is expected to cut the winery’s carbon footprint by a further 82 tonnes annually, with an estimated 505,000 kWh of solar energy forecast for the first year.

In 2014, Yealands was named International Green Company of the year by the drinks business.

Peter Yealands has for a long time stated his aim to make the business as self-sufficient as possible, but, significantly, today Yealands is majority owned by an electricity company.

In July 2015, Peter Yealands sold 80% of the company for NZ$89 million (£38.1m) to Marlborough Lines – a local electricity operator that provides power to some 24,500 customers in the South Island region.

The power for Marlborough Lines is generated through wind and hydro-electric stations in the South Island and geo-thermal plants in the North Island.

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