New Zealand's most energy
See how we harness
the sun's energy to help preserve our land
At Yealands, we took a cue from our vines.
Just like they capture and store the sun's
energy, we do too.
Get a personal welcome from Peter Yelands and quick pointers on the solar array.Watch
Our Solar Orbit
We've install New Zealand's largest solar array on our winnery roof. It supplies much of our eletricity needs - sustainablityExplore
Live Solar Data
See how much electricity our solar power system is delivering right nowExplore
Watch a short video about our
powerful new solar array
Get a personal welcome from Peter Yealands and quick pointers on the solar
array from winery engineer Aaron Black.
Live solar data
Energy harvested from the sun by the hour
This live solar data graph lets you see how much power we're getting from the sun across different time spans.
Our Solar orbit
Casting the sun
to power the
winery, not just
New Zealand's largest solar array captures the bright Marlborough sun on our winery roof. So the same power that develops those great flavours in our grapes, now powers the winery too.
Placing the panels time-lapse
Watch our solar panel array grow from 396 to 1316 modules - the size of 3.3 rugby fields
In 2016, we expanded our original solar array to cover almost the entire roof of the winery’s north wing, perfectly angled to catch the sun.
Placing the Panels:
We get sunshine
all year in marlborough
Most years, Marlborough gets more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in New Zealand. Our solar array transforms that into more than half a million kilowatt hours per year.
Solar orbit one
Our solar power system is
The solar power system at Yealands can run for years, without depleting the Earth’s resources.
Solar photovoltaic panels on the roof capture the energy from the sun and convert it directly into electricity. Each cell in each panel produces a tiny amount of direct current (DC) electricity. By adding many thousands of photovoltaic cells together, as we have at our winery, a great amount of electricity is generated, 100% sustainably.
As the New Zealand national grid and almost every single electrical appliance uses alternating current (230 Volts AC), the power from the solar array is sent to a bank of inverters that rapidly switches the power from 800 Volts DC to 230 Volts AC electricity.
From the inverters, the electricity goes to the main distribution board, where the electricity produced by the solar panels is sent to the winery.
Surplus electricity is sent to the national electricity grid.
Placing the panels pictures
Placing 2400 square meters of heavy solar panels was the largest project of its kind even in New Zealand
PowerSmart who installed the original 99kW system in 2013, installed a further 918 solar PV panels in four weeks, bringing the total to 1316. The system is now capable of generating 411 kiloWatts of solar power.
Placing the Panels:
Did you know ?
The sun has power to last
five billion years
How can we harness the sun's energy?
If we covered just one percent of the Sahara Desert with solar panels, we could generate enough electricity to power the whole world.
Every square meter of Earth's surface receives 164 watts of solar energy per day, on average.
Every hour, the sun sends enough energy to Earth to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. Solar power is the technology used to harness that energy and make it usable.
Did you know?More
Slide the sun icon along the curve to see the
variation in power generation during an average day.
In the winery pictures
The electricity generated by our solar power system helps to power everything we do in our winery, so we can present nature’s gift to you as bottled wine.
New Zealand's largest solar array captures the bright Marlborough sun on our winery roof.
Solar cabling runs through the roof, along the inside of the winery building and outside again where it connects to the inverter container.
A bank of ten inverters rapidly switches the power from 800 Volts DC to 230 Volts AC electricity.
From the inverter container the electricity travels to the main distribution board in the plant room where it is distributed for use in the winery.
Most of the energy harvested by our solar power system is used for cooling- a process crucial to ensuring wine quality.
In the winery: PicturesView
pumping & cooling - with the sun
Most of the sun’s heat we harvest with our solar power system is actually used for cooling! It is crucial for our wine quality.
Solar orbit three
Keeping wine cool is crucial
In the vineyard, we want warmth to develop great flavours in our wines. In the winery, we need coolness to capture and preserve those flavours.
Cooling is crucial at various stages of the wine-making process:
Cold settling white wines preserves flavours while solids slowly settle to the bottom.
Cold soaking of red wines follows a similar regimen, but here the aim is to extract flavour and colour from the wine skins.
Cool fermentation preserves the more volatile aroma components in the wine.
Cold stabilisation is used before bottling to prevent the formation of crystals at low temperatures.
The energy our refrigeration plants extracts from the cooling systems, is then captured with a de-superheater to warm the water we use in the winery. Everything is set up to preserve energy.
In the vineyard
The vine leaves capture the energy from the sun and use it to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugars that are then stored in the grapes.
In the vineyardView
Did you know ?
Our winery has been designed from day one with a focus on efficiency, sustainability and being carbon neutral.
World's first winery to be carboNZero Cert™ since inception
World First with Official Green Company GC-Mark in 2016
Sustainable Winegrowing Association Member
Did you know?View
Charge station pictures
At our electric vehicle charging station, you can fully charge your vehicle, with compliments of the sun.
Driving change by
changinghow we drive
Electric cars are set to become much more popular. True to form, we're taking the lead
by offering electric chargers on tap to
our staff and winery visitors.
Why go electric?
Electric cars are the way to go.
Using an electric car makes sense from many perspectives. They are cheaper to run and have minimal environmental impact. They also offer a smoother, quieter ride, and can accelerate much faster than traditional cars.
Here are some of the benefits:
Driving an electric car produces 80% fewer CO2 emissions than a petrol car – making an electric vehicle (EV) much better for the environment. If they are charged from solar energy sources, such as the one at Yealands, running them produces zero greenhouse gases.
In 2015 EECA commissioned a lifecycle analysis of the environmental impact of electric vehicles (EVs) compared to internal combustion engine vehicles (petrol and diesel). The report confirmed that EVs are better for the New Zealand environment than petrol or diesel powered vehicles, across the lifecycle of the vehicle as well as in use.
Another benefit is that electric vehicles can be charged from home. Even though that electricity costs money, electric vehicle users in New Zealand report that they can drive 100km for less than the cost of one litre of petrol.
Due to the simplicity of the power source and the motor, electric cars are very reliable and cost far less to maintain than those with internal combustion engines.
New generation electric cars offer similar driving ranges to petrol vehicles, and superior acceleration and performance. With new entrants in the market, electric cars are set to become a far more frequent sight on our roads.
Why go electric?View
Stepping back in time
Solar power being harnessed better than ever
Solar power was first turned into electricity in the19th Century. In the 21st, it is set to become a major source of all electric power generation.
First generation: Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel discovers that some metals produce electricity when exposed to light.
Albert Einstein figures out the physics of the photoelectric effect, winning the Nobel Prize.
Second generation: Russell Ohl discovers that a doped junction semiconductor will produce an electric current when exposed to light.
Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pearson make the first practical photovoltaic silicon solar cell, which is about 6 percent efficient.
Third generation: Scientists discover that perovskite crystals have great potential as photovoltaic materials.
German and French scientists produce a new record of 46 percent efficiency for a four-junction solar cell.
Energy from privately owned solar cells predicted to be as cheap as power from the grid.
Stepping back in timeView
How solar cells make
The sun's energy arrives on earth as a mixture of light and heat. Solar cells convert this energy into electricity we can use to power our equipment.
Solar Orbit Five
Bite-sized look at the silicon sandwich
Solar cells are designed to generate electric power by capturing and converting energy from the sun. Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight into electricity. In most PV cells, light energy (photons) excite the electrons in the atoms of a semi-conducting material (for example silicon). The energised electrons then generate an electrical voltage.
Here is how it works:
When sunlight shines on the cell, photons (light particles) bombard the upper surface.
The photons carry their energy down through the cell.
The photons give up their energy to electrons in the lower p-type layer.
The electrons use this energy to jump across the barrier into the upper, n-type layer and escape out into the circuit.
Flowing around the circuit, the electrons make the bulb light up.
Our solar power system
can serve 86 homes
The electricity we generate on our winery roof would be enough to run 86 average New Zealand households.
Solar orbit six
How much power
is it really?
The energy that our solar panels captures and converts into electricity reduces our carbon dioxide emissions by 81.85 tonnes. That’s the equivalent of cutting down on 164 car trips from Bluff to Cape Reinga, the length of New Zealand.
1 panel could power a 43" LED Television
5 panels could boil a kettle full of water
30 panels could run an average NZ home every day
100,000 panels could provide lighting and power to the entire SKYCITY Auckland
150,000 panels could power the Empire State Building
Each new solar panel in the Yealands solar installation has a maximum power output of 340Watts. Looking beyond the winery, how powerful are these panels?
Did you know?
Humans have used the sun's energy for over two thousand years!
The first recorded use of solar thermal energy was around the 3rd Century B.C., when the Ancient Greeks used mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays to light fires and torches.
The Romans used gigantic windows in their bathhouses to heat the buildings and the baths as early as the 1st Century A.D. By the 6th Century they even had laws that guaranteed houses ‘sun rights’ so they could have an unobstructed view of the sun to heat their homes.
Our bodies use solar energy to create Vitamin D by converting a pre-form of Vitamin D on our skin when it is hit by the ultraviolet energy from the sun.
Did you know?View
solar power orbit
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