4 Pines Community Solar

We are no longer accepting expressions of interest.

Congratulations to the lucky investors who made the draw. We’ll be in touch soon with instructions for becoming a member and investor in the Pingala Co-operative.

Hello to all 4 Pines Community!

Welcome to Pingala’s investment and membership information page for the 4 Pines community solar project, created especially for you! Also get regular updates on our Facebook event.

We’ve crafted the information on this page so that you have everything you need to determine if investing in Pingala is for you, or not. Whatever your decision, we’d like you to know that we’re excited that Pingala will be forming a long-lasting and positive relationship with 4 Pines and we not only look forward to supplying your brewery with cheap and clean solar power, but also we’re stoked that we’ll be joining each other’s broader community.

We think we make a perfect match, Pingala + 4 Pines. We both like to do things differently. At Pingala we want to do energy differently because we believe the old way of making energy is fundamentally broken and unfair.

We’re also so proud to be bringing this project to our members as part of a collaboration with two other awesome organisations, ClearSky Solar Investments and Smart Commercial Solar. These Northern Beaches Locals have been doing amazing work in getting more solar power out there on the roofs of businesses, supported by local community investors. Partnering with ClearSky and Smart Commercial brings the best of both worlds – their solid track-record and solar management experience with Pingala’s Co-operative approach to allow a much larger number of community investors to participate in the project.

Read on – we hope you find this information easy to understand but, if you have any problems, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us to discuss things further.

April and Tom


The Basics

The project

4 Pines Brewing Company will be brewing beer powered by the sun AND the community by the time summer rolls around. Leading solar engineers, Smart Commercial Solar, will be installing a 100 kW solar system to supply renewable electricity to their brewery, pack line, and office spaces in Brookvale, NSW. The system is set to be generating clean energy by November 12th this year. This is the first step towards 4 Pines being run on 100% renewable electricity by 2025.

But to throw convention out the window and bring the community along for the ride, the project will be 100% funded by a community of investors. In a first ever collaboration, trailblazing community solar organizations, Pingala and ClearSky Solar Investments are coming together to engage the community in this sustainable investment option. 4 Pines employees, friends and Northern Beaches locals are invited to participate and make-up an inclusive investor portfolio.

Community funded

The installation is being funded by the 4 Pines Brewing Company’s local community including 4 Pines employees, friends and Northern Beaches locals.  The not-for-profit community energy group ClearSky Solar Investments will set up a Fixed Unit Trust through which community members can invest.  4 Pines will pay for the solar electricity generated for ten years post installation and this revenue stream will repay the community investors with an attractive rate of return.

However, a ClearSky Trust is legally restricted to just 20 investors who would have needed to invest almost $6,000 each to raise the $116,000 cost of the installation.  But this hurdle was overcome when Pingala Co-operative stepped in and agreed to become the principal investor in the ClearSky trust, taking on responsibility for raising 75% of the capital.  Pingala will do this by offering $250 shares, with a maximum of 4 shares per person. So now hundreds of members of the 4 Pines community can be part of this great 4 Pines environmental initiative along with 19 individuals who can invest larger sums directly in the ClearSky trust.

A set of legal agreements between ClearSky and Smart Commercial solar will ensure that solar generation revenue gets distributed to unit holders in the ClearSky Trust and Pingala will use its share to pay a dividend to the Pingala shareholders.

Pingala investors

The Pingala Co-operative will be one of the 20 investors in the ClearSky Trust, adding this investment to its portfolio of investments, thereby achieving its goal of supporting local businesses by helping them finance their clean energy upgrades.

Community members who invest in the Pingala Co-operative will become members as well as shareholders in the Co-op. This means they become co-owners of the Pingala Co-operative.

The Pingala Co-operative seeks to deliver dividend payments to its members of between 5% and 8% per annum. The Board of Directors of the Co-operative have discretion to determine the dividend to be paid each year and they have fiduciary responsibility for managing the Co-operative for the benefit of member-shareholders.

Public offer

All potential investors are invited to submit expressions of interest to buy between 1 and 4 packets of shares at $250 per packet.

The community is invited to an event at the 4 Pines Truck Bar in Brookvale (the site where the solar system will be installed) on Saturday October 27th at 3pm. Here’s the Facebook event, share with your friends and family!

We’re pretty confident that there will be way more people wanting to invest than we’ll have shares on offer. Did we mention we like to do things differently? Well, what we plan to do is to draw the public expressions of interest out of a (beer) barrel until we’ve raised enough money to meet our total fundraising goal. It’ll work a lot like a chook raffle – except instead of winning a tray of meat, the lucky prize is the right to become an investor in the project. It should be a lot of fun for everyone there on the day.

NOTE: This process is for the public investors only.

What next?

If you think you might want to invest, here’s how you can get involved:

  1. Read the FAQ’s below and download and read the Pingala Rules and Disclosure Statement.
  2. Complete & submit your Expression of Interest (EOI). This EOI acts as your RSVP to our Investor Event.
  3. Your EOI will go in the draw for a chance to invest.
  4. Join us at the 4 Pines Truckbar on Saturday October 27th at 3pm to find out more. Joined the Facebook event?
  5. You can apply for up to four $250 share packages.
  6. A raffle will determine who the lucky investors are!
  7. Still have questions? Contact our Solar investment team at info@pingala.com.au

Remember, you need to determine your own ability to make this investment and you need to decide if the risks of this investment match your profile and personal circumstances. We cannot advise you on your financial affairs and you should consult a professional financial advisor before you make any major investment decisions.

Don’t forget you’ve only got until 26 October to complete the form at the bottom of the page!


Who is Pingala?
Pingala is a community energy group, working to build a fairer energy system. We believe our old energy system is broken and unfair. By putting consumers and communities in control, we are making “fairer energy” and cutting big energy out of our lives. Pingala is a partnership between two organisations; the Pingala Association and the Pingala Co-operative. The Pingala Association is the heart of the Pingala Group, being the not-for-profit, volunteer organisation that runs initiatives to deliver on our vision for making sure the energy transition is happening fast and fair. The Association’s initiatives work across three broad areas: helping businesses get access to the benefits of clean energy, helping more homes own solar, and working with community organisations and whole communities to ensure they’re not being left behind in the energy revolution. The Pingala Co-operative is a distributing (for profit) co-operative, setup to be the investment vehicle for Pingala’s community investment projects. Pingala Co-operative manages a portfolio of clean energy investments for the benefit of its member-shareholders and has been operating for the last two years. The Co-operative is governed by a Board of Directors with fiduciary responsibility for managing the Co-operative for the benefit of member-shareholders.
Who is 4 Pines?
4 Pines was born over a decade ago from a casual conversation between a father and son, post surf, who simply wanted an exceptional beer and options were limited.

It presented the wider family an opportunity to do something together; to build a small brewpub, introduce others to an exceptional beer and brewpub experience they had never seen before, build a little community where all were welcome and make some friends along the way.

It was from these new friends at the brewpub that we learnt the heart and soul of the working and business world had long since been corrupted. The fun had died, daring to step outside of the norm was frowned upon and dollars had become the focus – at the expense of almost everything else.

4 Pines, on the other hand, was built on throwing convention out the window, using alternative methods to measure success and having fun while we did it. We learnt even the smallest of businesses can change the game and for us, it was about leading in and being known for employee culture, customer experience, innovation, environmental and social responsibility and exceptional beer.

People seemed to like that and the little community grew and grew.

This innocent conversation that evolved into a brewpub became the foundation of a lifelong journey with family, friends and the community to restore the fun in people’s lives and forever challenge what the world imagines business should be.

From here, we will keep on doing what we know best – to create, share & perpetuate Australia’s leading locally famous & globally celebrated beer company.

What is a Co-operative?
Co-operatives are people centred organisations that are owned, controlled and used by their members. A co-operative’s main purpose is to benefit its members. Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. Their members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.   The aim of the Pingala Co-operative is to build, own and operate community-owned solar farms in Australia, with the support of member-shareholders who will become part owners in the projects.
What is the investment offer?
This is an opportunity to invest in the Pingala Co-operative by becoming a member and purchasing shares. The shares sold in this offer round will raise funds to support the development of the 4 Pines Community Solar Project. Specifically, this means the Pingala Co-operative will be investing in the Clear Sky Solar Investments Trust #20. Although the shares are being sold to finance the 4 Pines Community Solar Project, the investment offer is to become an ongoing member of the Pingala Co-operative and thereby a part owner in the portfolio of projects being managed by the Co-operative. The Rules of the Pingala Co-operative Limited and the Pingala Disclosure Statement set out the conditions of membership, share issues and the overall investment proposition.
How many shares can I buy?
We are offering ‘packets’ of shares in bundles of 250. Since shares are $1 each this means each ‘packet’ of shares you can buy is $250. Each investor can purchase a maximum of 4 packets.  Therefore you have the potential to invest $250, or $500, or $750 or $1,000.
Can I purchase more than $1,000 of shares? Can I purchase less than $250 of shares?
We have balanced our intention to let as many people as possible invest in the project, against the cost of administering the share register. If you would like to invest more than $1,000 you should consider if investing in the ClearSky Trust is for you. Unfortunately, we can’t offer smaller investment sizes than $250 as it becomes too expensive to administer our share register when we have too many small shareholders.
How do I invest?
  1. You will need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to invest before October 26th to reserve up to 4 share packets. You can do this by completing the EOI form at the bottom of the page. Make sure you tell us how many share packages you would like to reserve; either 1, 2, 3 or 4 share packets (see above “How many shares can I buy?”).  
  2. Once the registration for EOI has closed the selection process will commence, this will happen at the Pingala & 4 Pines Investor Event at the truck bar on the 27th. 
  3. All potential shareholders who were successfully allocated shares will receive an application for becoming a member of the Pingala Co-operative.
  4. You will need to transfer your money to the Pingala Co-operative via electronic fund transfer (EFT). *IMPORTANT: You will only have a very limited window in which to transfer funds to Pingala, missing the deadline will mean missing out on the opportunity to invest.
  5. Pingala will then send you a receipt for your investment and a shareholding statement, along with an information pack explaining how dividends will be paid to you, and other important facts.
What is the rate of return on my investment? When are dividends paid and how often?
The Co-operative aims to provide a return of between 5% and 8%. Dividends will be paid annually to each investor.
What happens after the 10 year project life is over?
You will be investing in the Pingala Co-operative, not the 4 Pines Project, so your shares won’t expire at the 10 year life time. The terms of the ClearSky Trust means they will return the investment capital to Pingala Co-operative over the 10 year project period; Pingala Co-operative will reinvest this capital into other equivalent projects, maximising the impact of your share contribution and allowing you to continue enjoying a return on investment beyond the 10 year project with 4 Pines.
What if I need to access my capital? Can I sell my shares? How soon can I sell them?
You can sell your shares anytime you want to.  However, you will either need to find another member to buy your shares or you will need to apply to the Co-operative to purchase your shares back from you.  These two options are expanded below:

  1. Finding another member to buy your shares. This is the preferred method of selling your shares. You can either find a buyer yourself or you can use the Pingala Shares for Sale register.  People who are interested in purchasing shares can view the register and request Pingala to put them in touch with the prospective seller.
  2. Pingala repurchase of shares. This is recommended for situations where a buyer cannot be found and there are urgent reasons for selling shares. You can apply to the Co-operative to repurchase your shares and in most circumstances this will be possible.  The Co-operative is not obliged to repurchase shares if it will be detrimental to the Co-operative.
Can I complete a joint application?
No, share applications are for individuals only.
How do I pay for the shares?
Successful applicants will be sent a member application form which will be used to confirm your allocation of shares. You will then need to send an Electronic Funds Transfer to the provided bank details for the Pingala Co-operative. You must add your full name in the description field of the transfer.
Who will own and manage the project once it has been installed. Will I be able to contact someone if I have a question about my shares?
The project will be owned by ClearSky Solar Investments Trust #20. As a shareholder you will be a member of the Pingala Co-operative and therefore a part-owner in the project/trust. Contact treasurer@dev.pingala.org.au if you have any questions.
Will the dividends be franked?
As a co-operative, Pingala is allowed to claim a tax deduction for the distribution it makes to its members, so long as it doesn’t frank those dividends. The Board of Pingala Co-operative have resolved to take advantage of this situation and so dividends will not be franked unless the Board determines to change this approach.

Essential documents

Rules – our constitution

Co-operatives have a constitution just like companies do, but they’re called Rules. The Rules set out the ways in which the Co-operative operates, the obligations of members, the purpose of the organisation and the way in which meetings are run and so forth.

Disclosure Statement – a bit like a prospectus

Pingala Co-operative is a for-profit entity. Technically this is what is known as a distributing co-operative. That’s just a fancy way of saying we distribute surplus/profit to our shareholders. So, we’re a for-profit Co-op.

Just like a company needing to issue a prospectus if they make a public offer to investors, our Co-operative must always have an up-to-date Disclosure Statement that outlines the financial involvement and liability of member-investors as well as the overall prospects of the organisation into the future.

This is your main document to determine what sort of investment you’ll be making if you were to become a member and buy shares. The document includes a section on risk, which you should pay particular attention to (although all parts of the document need your attention, so don’t just read the risk section!)



You can find the Rules and Disclosure Statement on our Co-op Members page.


You can also get involved with Pingala in other ways here
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