One of New Zealand’s biggest honey producers and exporters, Arataki Honey, has announced two major sustainability initiatives involving power use and packaging.

It has installed 250 solar panels at its production plant in Hawke’s Bay that it hopes will halve its $50,000 annual power bill, recouping the capital cost in about seven years.

To take full advantage of the installation, it’s also making processing changes to favour daytime power usage rather than night time.

The panels have a new bifacial feature that enables them to produce power from both sides, not just one.

The seasonal nature of Arataki’s production dovetails into the peak solar generation months. During winter they expect to need a small power top-up but in spring and summer excess power will be fed into the national grid.

The investment compliments their Rotorua operation where all processing energy has been geothermal since the early 1960s.

In addition, the company is switching the container for its most popular honey, the 1kg Clover Blend Honey, to cardboard as part of investment in more sustainable packaging options.

The company has more than 25,000 hives and 1.5 billion bees working across the country producing more than 1000 tonnes of honey for domestic and export markets.