FCAC, already a state-of-the-art cultural facility, is about to become a leader in sustainability as well. This year, the centre will install 40 kilowatts of solar panels, supplying about 30% of the centre’s energy, a Tesla Powerwall Battery System and energy-efficient LED lighting for the Performance Space.
These upgrades will save the centre about $14,000 on its annual electricity bill, currently running at $36,000 per year. And there are other benefits – the savings will help fund FCAC’s ‘Call to Create’ program, which provides in-kind venue and producer support for artists and communities to showcase their work.
The energy projects are only possible because of an innovative crowdfunding campaign. Donations through the campaign were matched – by five times as much – by supporters including Creative Partnerships Australia, The People’s Solar and other local business and government organisations. The matched funding was essential, bringing the total contributions to about $100,000.
This is 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.
We’ll keep you posted as the installations are built. In the meantime, visit the FCAC website for more details and news. And visit the centre in person at 45 Moreland Street Footscray.