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Sydney brewery 4 Pines joins renewable energy revolution

Sydney craft beer brewery 4 Pines has crowdfunded $100,000 from retail investors to build solar panels at its Sydney craft brewery, as energy investment takes off among property owners and investors.

Having raised the money in 17 minutes, 4 Pines' brewery, offices and pack line in Brookvale in Sydney's north shore will enjoy cheaper solar energy from a newly installed 100kW solar system.

In return, investors get a return of roughly 8 per cent, a figure that is determined using 20-year historical data on sunshine radiation and usage patterns. That work is undertaken by 4 Pines' crowd funders and solar investment managers and engineers, Pingala, ClearSky Solar Investment and Smart Commercial Solar.

4 Pines' brewery, offices and pack line in Brookvale in Sydney's north shore will enjoy cheaper solar energy from a newly installed 100kW solar system. Thomas Klockseth

4 Pines is owned by the world's largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, which bought it in September 2017.

"It's really a new class of investment because it is not like the stock market or the money market or house prices. It is something we can predict within an accurate range and the only risks are if the end users go bankrupt," ClearSky's Warren Yates said.

With rising energy costs, property developers and owners are seeing the benefits of setting up their own renewable energy sources, which also benefit buyers and tenants.

Climate action

Stockland has placed solar installations at its residential communities and shopping centres. Mirvac and Clean Energy Finance Corporation have built a range of clean energy sources at Mirvac's communities.

For 4 Pines, the company will pay cheaper electricity prices – it did not reveal the amount – through a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement. The solar panels will provide 40 per cent of 4 Pines' electricity needs; the company hopes to fully source all its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

"To brew beer for the next 100 years we understand our need to take climate action now. 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," 4 Pines sustainability manager Kiera Murphy said.

Pingala and ClearSky raised monies from 4 Pines' employees, its beer club members, and mum and dad and self-managed superannuation fund investors across the country.

Pingala invested a single parcel of $76,000, raised through its co-operative of members buying $250 units each. The rest was raised by ClearSky from investors buying units in its trust at a minimum investment of $2000.

By  Su-Lin Tan 30 Jan 2019 — 5:19 PM

 

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