Solarcity – activating solar and changing businesses

11 August 2015

In the build up to the Activating Solar event to facilitate greater uptake of solar on commercial premises, we’ve previewed a case study from solarcity, who have revolutionised the energy usage of Aro Hā Wellness Retreat.

The Aro Hā Wellness Retreat opened last January and since investing in solar energy with solarcity the results have been staggering.

The retreat is the first of its kind to optimise solarcity’s technology using solar photovoltaic panels, batteries and solar hot water, and a focus on self-sufficiency and results.

Aro Hā founding partner Damian Chaparro says, “My business partner, Chris Madison, and I came up with the idea that the facility should produce as much of its own power as possible, which would meet our vision for how the facility should operate.”

The retreat now owns the largest solar battery backup installation in New Zealand and has installed solarcity’s hot water solutions and photovoltaic technology. In the first year since the installation Aro Hā produced 65 per cent of its own energy from the solar panel array. When the retreat goes off grid it can produce 100 per cent of its own energy and provides power for an uninterrupted guest experience.

Solar panels and water heating are only part of Aro Hā’s efforts towards sustainability. “We collect rainwater from the roof for the gardens,” says Damien. “These gardens grow most of the food that feeds the guests. We store crops in cellars refrigerated by the ambient temperatures of the earth; it’s an all-round approach that meets our business model.”

The Aro Hā Retreat was the perfect project for solarcity, with the solar panel technology (for heating and generating power) having a peak output of 75kW and the hot water tubes producing enough energy to keep a 3,000 litre water tank hot enough to warm the site while also maintaining a 40 degree heat in the 10,000 litre spa.

Find how solarcity and other energy providers can revolutionise your company’s energy consumption and save you money at SBN’s Activate Solar event on Wednesday 19 August.