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Sustainable Winemaking: Cloudy Bay’s Solar PPA

Established in 1985 as one of the earliest wineries founded in the picturesque Marlborough region, Cloudy Bay’s highly rated Sauvignon Blanc is credited for putting New Zealand on the map for white wine drinkers around the world. These days, Cloudy Bay wines are available in over 80 countries and the iconic company is part of the prestigious LVMH family of brands.

While Cloudy Bay has reached dizzying heights as a business, its focus remains firmly rooted in the sustainable production of high-quality wines, and the conservation of the land and environment that allows it to grow such exceptional grapes.

Project snapshot

Industry: Wine production

Channel Partner: Green Peak Energy

Equipment: 404kW system

Payment Plan term: 15 years

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“We are custodians of the land. Our job as farmers is to pass the land to the next generation in a better state than we received it.”

– Jim White, Technical Director, Cloudy Bay Winery

As part of Cloudy Bay’s mission to produce wine sustainably, Jim and his team looked into installing a solar system on their Marlborough winery in 2022. After consulting with Smart Ease about Cloudy Bay’s business needs, Jim decided to install a solar system through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The solution

A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is a long-term electricity supply agreement that allows organisations to install a solar system on their premises without any capital outlay. The PPA provider owns, operates, and maintains the system and sells the electricity it generates at an agreed-upon rate (usually much lower than grid-sourced energy rates).

Jim decided on a PPA for several reasons. Firstly, he did not want to deal with the headache of installing and maintaining a large commercial solar system. Secondly, he did not want to have to financially commit to the considerable upfront cost required to install the system. And finally, he wanted to significantly reduce Cloudy Bay’s monthly energy bills.

Our Channel Partner and PPA provider, Green Peak Energy, visited the Marlborough site and proposed a 404kW solar system split between six separate roofs. In December 2022, the installation of this project was completed, kicking off Cloudy Bay’s 15-year PPA agreement.

The win

Cloudy Bay’s 404kW system was estimated to generate 613,000kWh in its first year, resulting in a significant decrease in Cloudy Bay’s grid dependency and annual power bills. It has also meant a drastic reduction in the winery’s carbon emissions, further supporting their sustainability agenda.

The PPA arrangement suits Cloudy Bay perfectly, as it has eliminated the upfront costs and operational burdens associated with solar installation. Under Green Peak Energy’s watchful eye, the solar system is operating at its highest capacity, and if ever a technical issue occurs, they are there to fix it.

A PPA allows Cloudy Bay to focus all its attention on what matters most: producing world-class wines!


“I think PPAs are a great way for companies to get into solar and to push their sustainability agendas. You can do so without having to stump up a lot of capital, nor do you need the expertise to understand and manage a solar system.”

– Jim White

Start a conversation with Smart Ease and find out how our Payment Plans can help you meet sustainability goals and save on energy costs.