Thanks in part to their supporters Young Henrys are to become 100 per cent powered by the sun as they get set to add a second solar farm to the roof of their Newtown brewery.

Back in 2016 the brewery installed a 30kW solar system on their roof after raising $17,500 in nine minutes from 74 of their followers by raffling off shares to invest in the then newly formed company Pingala. For the past five years the solar panels have provided a third of the brewery’s total power needs.

Now, in a repeat of that same community driven initiative, they have reached out via their mailing list to seek investors for a second solar system in conjunction with Pingala that is to be installed in the next two months. Young Henrys only sent out the call on Monday (May 10) but within 24 hours had received over $60,000 in investment pledges.

The new 39.6kW solar system, designed and installed by Solargain, will cover the roof of their warehouse building and will mean half of their energy needs are generated on-site. The other half is already coming via the grid care of ENGIE‘s Power Purchase Agreement – set up in 2019 to aggregate the energy needs of eligible Australian Hotels Association members and to underwrite large-scale investments in renewable energy.

“Therefore, effectively 100 per cent of our electricity needs will be generated through solar,” Young Henrys co-founder Richard Adamson told Beer & Brewer. “We’re not perfect in terms of being environmentally sustainable, but you’ve just got to take it one chunk at a time and look at how you can do your best.

“(Working with Pingala) is great because they’ve got the best contacts within their industry so you end up with the right experience in terms of scoping what you need for installation and equipment.

“And you don’t have to do the capital outlay to start saving money straight off the bat. It’s really great when you do an initiative that is environmentally sustainable and saves you money too.”

The Young Henrys roof showing the results of the original 2016 solar program

Pingala is a climate-focused, subscription-based organisation which offers people the opportunity to invest in sustainable solutions in their local communities. Members are then paid dividends on the projects they invest in, with Pingala saying member-shareholders from the original 2016 Young Henrys project have been enjoying a five to eight per cent annual dividend since their initial investment.

As part of the program Young Henrys pay Pingala a fee to lease the panels. Once the six-year initiative has run its course the brewery then own the solar system outright while the shareholders remain Pingala members and their returned capital is reinvested in new renewable energy projects.

“This is a win-win for a lot of different reasons,” Richard added. “Among those is we pay less for electricity because we’re generating it on the roof but it also allows people to participate in the generation of electricity through solar means who may not be able to do it otherwise… they might live in a shaded building or a block of flats or perhaps they’re just renting.”

Richard said he still hoped people would continue to make expressions of interest through Pingala despite having already received enough pledges to far exceed the required $40,000 to fund their project.

“Don’t not do it just because it looks like we’ve got there. I’d hope that it can keep going as anything that ends up being invested will fund Pingala’s next project.”

For the upcoming Young Henrys project Pingala have offered shares valued at $1 in packets of 250, with a maximum of four share-bundles per person. A raffle will be conducted soon to draw the names of the potential investors who will then be contacted and invited to invest.

To find out more information, or to register your interest, head to the Young Henrys page on the Pingala website.

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