Demand was so fierce to invest in a community solar project for the Young Henrys’ brewery in Sydney that the 300 applications to participate had to be put in a raffle barrel and drawn out.
The community solar project, believed to be the first in a metropolitan area, raised $17,500 in just nine minutes for a 29.9-kilowatt solar system on the brewery’s roof, with successful investors expected to achieve returns of over five per cent a year over the term of the project.
The City of Sydney provided a grant to cover a third of the “solar-powered beer” project cost with Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore attending the investor event at the inner-west brewery and delivering a keynote speech.
“We are getting on and doing what we can to address climate change,” Ms Moore said, “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”.
The council provided the grant to community group Pingala to create what Pingala says is “the first community solar lease and the first investment driven community solar co-operative in Australia”.
Pingala founding member April Crawford-Smith said the company hoped to replicate the project’s success.
“We’re so stoked with the huge amount of interest in this sort of project and can’t wait to do it again,” she said.
The Pingala model aims to add a community element to putting solar on business roofs, and says its model allows the creation of long-lasting connections with the local community.