PowerSmart Solar is collaborating with Yealands Wine Estate in an agreement that allows Yealands to have all the benefits of a solar electricity system without the initial upfront capital investment.
Through a Power Purchase Agreement, PowerSmart owns the solar panels that are installed at Yealands Wine Estate. It is also responsible for maintenance of the system. In return, Yealands has a 20 year contract to purchase the power produced by the panels.
This system, installed in December 2013, offsets approximately 10% of the daytime base loads of Yealands’ electricity usage and is part of its overall goal to be the most sustainable winery in the world.
The innovation is in the financing of this large, commercial, solar electricity system. Normally, businesses have to finance the solar electricity system themselves, but in this model PowerSmart owns, installs, monitors and maintains the system while Yealands provides the roof space and agrees to purchase the electricity for the next 20 years.
The estimated production of electricity per year is around 130,000 kWh. Currently the solar array is a 99 kW system with plans to double the size in the near future.
Because PowerSmart owns the system and only sells the electricity back to Yealands, it is in PowerSmart’s interest to make sure the system continues to perform at its peak over the life of the system. It also means that Yealands can rely on experts to monitor the solar electricity system while it focuses on making great wine.
PowerSmart Solar was a finalist in the Renewables Impact category in the 2014 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards.