Hawke's Bay honey producer installs 250 solar panels in bid to help environment

One of the country's largest honey producers has made major changes to its production methods in a bid to help the environment.

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Arataki honey has just completed a major solar installation at its Hawke's Bay factory. Source: 1 NEWS

Arataki Honey has just completed installing over 250 solar panels at its factory in the Hawke's Bay and is trialling major changes to its packaging to reduce its plastic production.

The region gets more than 2000 hours of sunshine a year and Arataki Honey hopes to halve its power bill in seven years to earn back the $150,000 investment.

The move will offset the company's carbon emissions.

It is said to be the largest solar unit in Hawke's Bay and according to Laura Kerr from Ecoefficient Solutions, the solar panels are the equivalent of planting 18,000 square metres of trees.

But plastic packaging is also an issue for the company, which produces over 1000 tonnes of honey a year.

Trials are underway on a less sturdy but recyclable, cardboard pot, similar to one used 30 years ago.

"All of the machinery is all tuned up for the plastic pots so what we are packing up in cardboard is very manual, probably time consuming costly but you have to start somewhere," says Rhys Flack of Arataki Honey.

The solar panels are set to be switched on to coincide with the busy spring pollen season.