Z-Tech & Lemon Energia: Keeping the lights on for small businesses

Posted: June 01, 2021
Z-Tech & Lemon Energia: Keeping the lights on for small businesses

Since beer is a homegrown product—often grown, brewed and sold in local communities—we aim to be there to ensure that all our local partners have fair access to what they need to build back. One program helping to make that happen is a partnership between our technology and innovation hub Z-Tech, Ambev and the startup Lemon Energia that's providing small retailers in Brazil with convenient access to renewable, clean energy.

Announced in October 2020, the goal of the partnership is to help reduce our Scope 3 emissions generated at the point of sale, support our small retailers with access to clean energy sources and ensure that our products are kept cool in a sustainable way. So far, it's off to a successful start.

How the program works
Retailers who work with Lemon Energia can consume clean energy without adding extra costs to their business, installing solar panels or making any kind of additional investments. It works as if they were renting energy from a local producer, selected by Lemon. Signing up is simple—retail owners just register online and upload an electricity bill to see if they're eligible.

The service is catching on quickly. So far, 500 small retailers from three different states—Minas Gerais, Pernambuco and Distrito Federal—are currently receiving energy from Lemon Energia.

Next up? Lemon Energia has plans to launch operations in Rio de Janeiro in the coming months, on the way to the ultimate goal of bringing renewable electricity to 50,000  small shops, bars and restaurants across Brazil. This will help to reduce CO2e in our value chain and contribute to mitigating climate change.

Reducing costs for small retailers
As we support our communities during the recovery, this partnership also provides another important benefit—lowering the fixed costs for entrepreneurs who own retail locations. Lemon is able to guarantee a lower energy rate for its customers by linking them up with local clean energy producers, as mentioned above.

We know that the economy cannot recover unless our communities are thriving. And as many bars and restaurants remain closed or operating with restrictions in place, any way to reduce costs can make a big impact.

"Working with Lemon has been very fulfilling,” says Roberto Guido, CEO of Z-Tech Brazil. “The most important aspect of our partnership is the positive impact we have been experiencing with small and medium-sized entrepreneurs through the reduction of their electricity bills in a sustainable way. Given our proximity to retailers, we know how much every saving is crucial for their recovery in these challenging times."

In January 2021 alone, Lemon Energia's clients utilized over 385,000 kWh of solar energy, saving them a total of nearly R$40,000 (approximately $7,300 USD).

"I am satisfied with the savings and with the decrease in my energy costs thanks to Lemon's partnership. It has effectively decreased my electricity bill,” says Rene Gonçalves da Silva, owner of Peg-Peg Silva in Uberlândia - Minas Gerais, Brazil. 

Mirabela, a solar plant that supplies Lemon Energia customers in the state of Minas Gerais. The activity of the Mirabela solar plant alone has eliminated approximately 133 tons of CO2e emissions, while also saving business owners nearly $40,000 USD in 6 months.


Making a positive impact
The cost savings aren't the only benefit to our customers—they also get the satisfaction that they're having a positive impact on their communities and the planet.

On average, all of Lemon Energia's 1MW solar plants generate around 200MWh a month, which is equal to reducing emissions by nearly 16.8ton CO2e/month. Lemon currently operates just over 4 MW.

Between the reduction of CO2e emissions and cost savings for small retailers, this powerful partnership is driving real change in communities across Brazil.

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