More solar beer, as NSW 4 Pines launches 100kW crowd-funding round


The coming Australian summer looks set to deliver another solar powered beer brand, with New South Wales’ 4 Pines Brewing Company calling for investors from its local Northern Beaches community to back the installation of 100kW of PV next month.
The crowd-funding round will be led by community solar organisations Pingala Co-operative and ClearSky Solar Investment, and will offer those who sign up as much as 8 per cent return on their investment.
And the 100kW solar system – which will power the 4 Pines Brewery, pack line, and office spaces in Brookvale, Sydney – will be installed by Smart Commercial Solar in November.
Once the system is installed 4 Pines will continue to pay for electricity consumed, with the proceeds returned to shareholders via a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Smart Commercial Solar.
The PV system is expected to deliver nearly 40 per cent of 4 Pines’ electricity needs, bringing the at boutique brewer in line with its parent company, AB InBev, which aims to source 100 per cent of its purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
And data collected by Smart Commercial Solar on 4 Pines energy usage patterns is also being used to improve the brewery’s energy efficiencies across the business.
The addition of solar at 4 Pines is part of a growing trend in Australian brewing, that has seen solar added at a rate almost matching that of new craft breweries popping up around the country.
As we reported here, beer lovers who prefer their beverage to be solar powered have any number of brands to choose from, all around the nation.
And this is not the only craft brewery solar installation that has been crowd-funded, either.
Indeed, Pingala was behind one of the earliest examples of this in Australia, when it led a community investment round for Young Henry’s in Newtown in 2016.
On that occasion, the crowd-funding effort raised a total of $17,500 in just nine minutes, to help pay for the installation of a 29.9kW solar array. The 56 investors were expected to achieve returns of more than 5 per cent p.a. over the term of the 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,” said Pingala co-founder and convenor April Crawford-Smith in comments this week.
“The collaboration with ClearSky is a first as well, combining the strengths of both our models. We’re hoping many other breweries and businesses can do the same, installing solar but also building stronger links with their community.”
Christina Kirche, director at ClearSky Solar says the company is delighted to be able to apply its community energy investment model in its “own back yard” of Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
“We have a successful track record of community solar projects in Australia since our launch in 2013 and this will be our 32nd community solar project.
“Our mission is to empower our local communities to benefit not just environmentally, but also economically, from the production of clean energy and this project is a real win-win,” she said.
4 Pines sustainability manager Kiera Murphy said the company understood the need to take climate action now, and wanted to share the experience with customers.
“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.”
Those interested in investing in the Pingala Co-operative, they can visit: http://pingala.org.au/4-pines-project/
Those interested in joining ClearSky to see projects ready for investment, they can visit: https://www.clearskysolar.com.au/

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