A group of environmentalists wants to power the Discovery Science and Technology Centre on solar energy and create a new interactive exhibit – but to pay for it, they must first harness the power of the crowd.
The Bendigo Sustainability Group today launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for transportation to and installation of solar panels on the roof of the interactive educational centre.
BSG secretary Colin Lambie said Sunergy Solar, Water, Wind had generously donated four solar photo voltaic (PV) systems – consisting of 44 solar panels – which now needed to be transferred and installed.
Mr Lambie said the panels would not only reduce operating costs for the centre but also add a new educational component.
“They will contribute power for the consumption of the Discovery Centre, therefor reducing electricity costs by $3,100 each year,” Mr Lambie said.
“That will make it easier on them budget wise, but we’ll also have a display for the public which will show how much energy each panel is producing.
“You could see, for example, that panel produced three kilowatts per hour today but not so much yesterday and compare the climatic conditions...”
“So we’re hoping that people will learn about solar power through this display as well.”
For both parties, turning to the crowd will be a return to a tried and tested model of fundraising.
Last year the Discovery Centre was rescued from forced financial closure thanks to a crowdfunding campaign which raised more than $38,000. The centre also received donations from local businesses, with Champions IGA pledging $35,000 over two years.
In 2014, BSG raised $25,000 for 80 solar panels on the Bendigo Library.
Total cost for the monitoring and display system, added to the cost of moving the systems from Sunergy to Discovery, comes to a total of $11,000.
The target is 44 panels by April 30.
BSG said that would produce 11kW of power – the equivalent of 21 tonnes of CO2 from a coal-fired power stations.
The electricity generated by the solar PV system will generate 16,000kWh per annum.
Taxable deductible donations can be made from 1 March via the Chuffed website.