You can now swap excess solar energy credits for beer in Australia, thanks to blockchain

Harry Mason

Australians are well known all over the world for their love of beer, and this love is now being capitalised on by Victoria Bitter, one of the most popular beer brands in the country, by allowing Australians to earn a free pint by using their solar energy credits, with the whole operation being run on blockchain networks.

This is the new Solar Exchange program introduced by the brand, with users able to track how much free beer they have earned based on the number of solar energy credits they exchange with Victoria Bitter. Customers can earn beer for every $30 worth of credits, which are then delivered directly to their homes. The company began brewing beer in Australia last year through 100% offset solar energy, and so this program is an attempt to improve its environmental impact even further, with customers getting free beers in the bargain. The blockchain platform Power Ledger will be used to track this, with customers able to check their status every 30 minutes. Victoria Bitter will use the solar energy credits it receives from this program for its own operations, or use them towards the company’s broader sustainability goals. The beers earned by customers will be delivered every quarter. Customers wishing to participate in this program will first need to change their electricity retailer to Diamond Energy, which is one of the partners for this program, and it is available for residential households only, in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

Power Ledger is a fast-growing blockchain company in Australia that specializes in energy trading services, which made it the perfect partner for this venture. It has already rolled out a similar sort of platform in Western Australia, where users can track their energy consumption and sell their surplus solar energy to other residents through its blockchain platform.

This program initially has only 500 spots available, with interested users asked to register at a dedicated website. Victoria Bitter is owned by Asahi Beverages, which recently also acquired Carlton and United Breweries (CUB). Asahi already has a very ambitious sustainability agenda in place, with the company has committed to being 100% powered by renewable energy by 2025, while CUB had also adopted renewable energy practices in 2018 by signing a 12-year power purchase agreement with the giant solar energy farm outside Mildura, for supplying 74,000 MWh of solar energy per year.

This is quite an innovative approach towards sustainable energy taken by this company, and given the amount of beer that Australians drink, it is bound to be a success. The use of a blockchain platform to support the program and provide information for users on how many beers they have earned is also quite exciting, as Power Ledger already has experience in the energy trading space, which should allow it to be able to seamlessly provide the necessary infrastructure to Victoria Bitter customers as well as the company itself. It will be interesting to see if the program is extended to more people, and how many solar credits the company is able to bring in through the program.