Sydney brewery goes solar through innovative community investment fund

A Sydney community solar investor fund has raised a total of $17,500 in just nine minutes over the weekend, to go towards the installation of solar at a local craft brewery in Newtown.

The money invested at the investment event, which was led by Pingala Co-operative, will pay for a 29.9kW solar array on the roof of Young Henry’s brewery, the electricity which will power the brewing operation.

In a statement on Tuesday, Pingala said that more than 120 people had submitted applications to invest in the project before the Sunday event, while a further 50 people registered on the day.

The share offer was over-subscribed by 400 per cent, requiring the 70 winning applications to be drawn from a total of 300 on the day.

All up, 56 people won the chance to invest in the project, Pingala said. Investors can expect to achieve returns of more than 5 per cent p.a. over the term of the project.

The City of Sydney is the other main investor, having supplied a grant of around a third of the project’s total cost. Pingala said the Environmental Innovation grant was used to help it tackle the complex task of creating the first community solar lease and the first investment driven community solar co-operative in Australia.

“We are getting on and doing what we can to address climate change… and there’s no reason why this initiative can’t spread further, no reason you can’t inspire a whole lot of other organisations and we can come together and support them setting up as well,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore at the event on Sunday.

Pingala says it has plans to replicate the success of Young Henry’s by doing similar solar projects in the Newtown area and further afield.

“We’re so stoked with the huge amount of interest in this sort of project and can’t wait to do it again! Creating opportunities for communities to get behind and benefit from renewable energy plus supporting local enterprises they love,” said April Crawford-Smith, a founding member of Pingala.

Top image via Young Henry’s.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd