Sydney community encouraged to invest in solar beer

Monday, 29 October, 2018

Sydney community encouraged to invest in solar beer

Sydney microbrewery 4 Pines is looking to brew solar-powered beer this summer, and it is calling on local investors to help with the solar project.

Led by solar organisations Pingala and ClearSky Solar Investment, members of the local community who help fund the renewable energy project could be offered up to an 8% return on their investment.

Smart Commercial Solar will help 4 Pines reduce its electricity consumption by installing a 100 kW solar system at its Brookvale site in November. The brewery will continue to pay for electricity consumed, with the proceeds being returned to shareholders via a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Smart Commercial Solar.

This is expected to supply renewable electricity to the brewery, pack line and office spaces, and deliver nearly 40% of its current electricity needs. It will also help 4 Pines work towards its goal of securing 100% of its purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

4 Pines will use the information collected by Smart Commercial Solar — which included energy usage patterns, billing information and interval data — to improve its energy efficiencies.

Mike Dudley, Project Lead at Smart Commercial Solar, said: “4 Pines is using energy to give the community a piece of the pie. Now there are vehicles that enable the community to fund rooftop solar on businesses, so people can do something positive for the environment and get a good return for providing a valuable service — discounted electricity. And there’s beer. What’s not to love?”

Pingala Co-Founder and Convenor April Crawford-Smith similarly praised the project, stating: “We’re excited to bring community investment to the 4 Pines solar project. Solar is great, but when hundreds of people from the 4 Pines community can invest in the project, the overall impact is much greater.”

Pingala was involved in a similar community-funded solar project at Young Henrys brewery in Sydney in 2016.

4 Pines Sustainability Manager Kiera Murphy highlighted the importance of taking responsibility for its environmental impact and the need to take immediate action.

“We see the value and importance in renewable energy but didn’t want to be the only ones to benefit from the solar system set to power our brewery. Why not share the love with our local community? We’re honoured to be working with our partners who are leading the way to a renewable energy revolution,” she said.

Top image: (L-R) Warren Yeates, Director of Clearsky Solar Investments; Nigel Hancock, Pingala; Kiera Murphy, Sustainability Manager at 4 Pines; Mike Dudley, Project Lead at Smart Commercial Solar; Tom Nockolds, Pingala.

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