Footscray Community & Arts Centre is the first crowd funded Tesla Powerwall and solar system solution in Victoria. Supplying close to 30% of their energy requirements the 40kW system also includes a 7kW battery storage solution. Predicted savings have been calculated at $14,000 per year with a further total saving of $126,000 by the year 2025, a milestone for the Centre. This in real terms means that money saved can be re-injected into the activities within the centre.
Natural Solar worked closely with the board of Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) to get an understanding of how the building uses its energy. Our electrical engineers and energy specialists undertook evaluations and studied the supplied figures & details before tailoring a unique solution.
The idea of crowdfunding the project was embraced by Natural Solar and technical elements of the project were released to the managers and board members of Footscray to enable them to put together their funding bid.
Installation was assessed and completed by a Clean Energy Council accredited installer and managed by Natural Solar. Calculations made during the design phase of the system suggested that the strings were split into two groups and this was translated onto the roof during the install. To accommodate any upgrade to the system, at a later stage, the panels were laid out in a specific pattern. Measures which had again been included in the electrical design were taken to provide future installers an easy route to add extra panels to the array.
Planning for the future
In addition to the solar array and Tesla Powerwall battery, LED lighting will also be installed within the FCAC Performance space which will cut technology and operating costs while enhancing the performance space for artists involved.
A very positive effect
The project has been used as an important marketing tool for the Arts Centre and has raised much interest both in the way the project was funded but also for the technology used.
The savings will also help fund FCAC’s ‘Call to Create’ program, which provides in-kind venue and producer support for artists and communities to showcase their work.
Described as a pioneering move – In general, arts organisations have not been able to consider solar because they don’t have sufficient infrastructure budgets. FCAC has shown that this need not be a barrier. With the help of just a part of its community, FCAC will soon be showcasing its own renewable energy achievements as well as contemporary art.