4 Pines Brewing Company’s solar installation on the roof of their main brewery in Brookvale is more than just a smart business move. It’s using crowd power to ‘Brew Better‘.
It’s also a project close to our heart, because it was financed via a collaboration between Pingala Co-op and Clear Sky Solar Investments, the social enterprise founded by Christina Kirsch and Warren Yates in 2013.
Clear Sky Solar Investments set up a Fixed Unit Trust with provision for 10 investors committing a minimum of $2,000 to the project. The Pingala Co-operative signed up as the major investor, thereby allowing an unlimited number of parties to purchase up to 4 x $250 share units each.
The local community, including 4 Pines employees, 4 Pines local Beer Club members and Northern Beaches locals, put in expressions of interest to join the Pingala Co-operative investment. It was wildly over-subscribed so the lucky shareholders were chosen by being drawn out of a specially-crafted barrel at an event at the Truck Bar in October 2018.
“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. “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.”
The 100-kW solar system was installed by Solar engineers, Smart Commercial Solar, in November 2018. It supplies clean power to the brewery, pack line, and office spaces in Brookvale. 4 Pines continues to pay for electricity consumed, with the proceeds being returned to shareholders via a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Smart Commercial Solar.
The solar installation delivers nearly 40% of 4 Pines’ current electricity needs at Brookvale. It’s also a successful pilot for future solar installations by their parent company, AB inBev, which has made a commitment to be run on 100% renewable energy by 2025. All part of an ongoing commitment to brew better.
Turns out beer brewed by the sun just gets better.
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