People's Powerwall: Solar + Tesla battery storage crowd-funded for Melbourne community centre

A Community Arts Centre in Melbourne’s west expects to save as much as $14,000 a year on electricity costs, after installing 40kW of rooftop solar alongside a 6.4kWh Tesla Powerwall.
The Footscray Community Arts Centre says it raised more than $120,000 for the solar and battery storage project, through crowdfunding and match funding partnerships – suggesting just how quickly battery storage is being accepted by ordinary Australians as a standard feature of distributed energy generation.

The effort, led by the FCAC in partnership with The People’s Solar, Creative Partnerships Australia and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, is at the installation phase, which is being conducted by solar installer and Australian Tesla Powerwall reseller, Natural Solar.
Natural Solar’s Chris Williams says the battery, while small in comparison to the solar system, will store excess solar generation for use when the centre is operating at it’s highest and using the bulk of it’s solar power each day.
The solar array is expected to supply around one-third of the community centre’s power.
Williams, who describes the past year’s uptake and interest in battery power as “astounding,” but was pleasantly surprised by the community support generated for the Footscray project.
“The … support behind the FCAC crowdfunding campaign has been beyond belief, and we are excited to have been a part of the process from the beginning,” he said.
“We are hoping more community groups, centres and projects will take inspiration from what FCAC have been able to achieve and begin to advocate for renewables and battery power, not just for the savings but also for the environmental benefits.
“Customers are seeing the benefits of the Tesla Powerwall immediately after installing it and we expect this to be no different for FCAC,” Williams said.
Beyond the solar and battery storage, the savings are also expected to be made through the installation of LED lighting in the Centre’s performance space.
FCAC director and CEO, Jade Lillie, said the expected savings from the project would be put towards funding of the Centre’s artistic program, showcasing socially, culturally and politically relevant works and performances.
“We thank each person who individually donated and supported this crowdfunding initiative, these contributions were essential to our goal, and to securing the match funding partnerships involved,” Lillie said.


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