Forest Lodge Orchard is a cherry orchard in Central Otago. It is Aotearoa New Zealand’s first large-scale grower/producer to power all its operations on electricity. It aims to demonstrate that profit and sustainability can go hand in hand in a sector that is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. It also hopes to encourage other farmers to adopt electrification and new technology.
The business has electrified all of its orchard equipment. This includes the country’s first electric frost fighting fans, a fully electric tractor and an electric golf cart converted into an orchard utility vehicle.
Solar and battery systems power day-to-day operations. Forest Lodge Orchard is still connected to the grid which supplies power when extra capacity is needed. By using a hybrid system, the solar batteries can be charged when power is cheap. At other times surplus solar power can be exported to the grid controlled by the business’ own custom-built software.