Community investment in solar powered beer is a small step towards big change

Published in the South Sydney Herald, September 2016

Recently, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, over 150 people from across Sydney gathered to launch a unique solar energy project that brings together the beer brewing expertise of Young Henrys with the solar energy knowhow of Pingala.

It’s a special collaboration – not just because it will deliver ‘solar powered beer’ – but because it allows community members to come together to invest in small-scale renewable energy.

I was there to show support, as was the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, and Bruce Jeffreys, one of the founders of GoGet.

Pingala is a Community Renewable Energy supplier that mobilises local communities to help choose, build and operate solar farms on the roofs of local host sites, like schools, car parks or breweries.

I am proud to disclose that I am an investor in Pingala.

Initiatives like Pingala are what our community is about. Instead of waiting for politicians and the powers-that-be to catch up with what is needed to solve the climate change crisis, Pingala harness skills, ideas, resources, expertise and vision from across the community to find solutions that actually make a difference.

It's not just among the so-called 'lefties, latte-sippers and hippies' of the inner city and inner west that you can find this happening. Right across NSW, from Broken Hill to the Liverpool Plains, communities are coming together to reject polluting fossil fuels in favour of renewables - because we know that they are the answer for a sustainable future.

The Pingala-Young Henrys collaboration involves 56 community investors who are funding the installation and operation of a 29.9kW solar farm on the brewery’s roof. Each of these investors – and the 200 or so applicants who missed out on shares for this project – understand that taking local action right now to help mitigate the impact of global warming is better than waiting for governments to act.

We know that strong communities working together to transition to renewables, to collectively pool resources and skills, to harness nature to save it, is the only way to go.

This is sure to be the first of many solar farms initiated by Pingala. Many more individuals will have the opportunity to invest directly in other local renewable energy projects. Every one of them is making a great contribution to real change.


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