Prestigious winery, Rathfinny Wine Estate in Sussex, is set to insure itself against fluctuating energy bills by installing solar panels funded by the community. Rathfinny have partnered with Brighton Energy Coop (BEC), who will install solar panels on Rathfinny’s roofs – at no cost to Rathfinny – and then sell the winery the electricity generated.

This means that the electricity used by Rathfinny is partly – around 50% – solar powered, and with solar electricity being much cheaper than grid electricity, the winery is set to save handsomely. The solar electricity price is also fixed, meaning Rathfinny are insured against future energy price increases.

Local people are funding this impressive 1500-panel solar system by investing in Brighton Energy Co-op. 

BEC currently works with 50 other local businesses like this, including Bolney Wine Estate in Sussex. Here BEC installed solar panels in 2018. As a guarantee against unpredicatable energy prices, the solar electricity saves Bolney thousands on their electricity bills each year, and significantly reduced the Estate’s carbon emissions. 

At Rathfinny, the reduced carbon savings are around 400 tonnes per year.

Brighton Energy’s community-led approach to renewable energy is a great match with Rathfinny’s sustainable ethos and their low intervention winemaking methods. 

Mark & Sarah Driver of Rathfinny Wine Esate said: “Brighton Energy community solar is a great fit for us, as we’ve applied to gain the prestigious B-Corp status for our sustainable business.”

B Corp status is a certification of social and environmental performance. To become a B Corp, companies are required to incorporate social and environmental objectives into governing documents; well-known brands such as Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Nespresso and The Body Shop have all been certified as B Corps.

Rathfinny Wine Estate Co-owner Mark Driver & BEC’s Matt Brown in front of the 1500 BEC Solar Panels