50 kW of SolarWorld Panels Power Bonnaroo Music Festival

When world-renowned musicians such as Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis take the stage starting today at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., solar panels from SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, will offset electricity used to power their performances. A 50-kW array, which festival attendees paid for out of their own pockets, is the first permanent solar system installed at a major American music festival. The clean energy produced by the system is equivalent to 20 percent of the power consumed at Bonnaroo during the annual four-day music and art extravaganza.

9039_10151401625200906_1221736902_nVoluntary contributions from Bonnaroo’s roughly 80,000 annual attendees, collected through ticket sales since 2012, footed the bill for the system. Bonnaroo reserves opt-in donations exclusively for onsite sustainability improvements. In addition, festival organizers added a $1 fee to every ticket sold in 2012 to generate additional money for green initiatives. The solar installation directly resulted from both types of fan support.

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“Running part of Bonnaroo on solar power has long been our goal as it underscores our commitment to the environment,” said Festival Partner Rich Goodstone of Superfly Presents. “Construction of the new solar array is complete, and we are looking forward to unveiling it to fans tomorrow.”

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Composed of 196 solar panels made by SolarWorld in Hillsboro, Ore., the system was planned by Encore Redevelopment of Burlington, Vt., and installed in early 2013 by Sustainable Future, a SolarWorld authorized installer based in Knoxville, Tenn. The system, mounted on the roof of a metal structure in the backstage area, will generate more than 61,000 kilowatt-hours of energy each year – equal to about 20 percent of Bonnaroo’s total annual power needs. While the system will not be visible to patrons, fans will peruse a solar display in “Planet Roo,” an area devoted to sustainability.

“Sustainable Future is proud to be a part of the Bonnaroo Festival and support the sustainability efforts of both the fans and festival organizers. The solar array will generate electricity for music lovers for many decades to come,” said David Bolt, company founder. Sustainable Future will supply an additional, temporary solar array at this year’s festival, which will provide shade as well as electricity for fans. “An important aspect of sustainability is to use land efficiently. Employing panels to create shade for fans next to the solar stage at Bonnaroo is a great way to accomplish this.”

Bonnaroo is one of the largest and most popular U.S. music festivals. Staged over four days on a 700-acre farm, Bonnaroo hosts hundreds of nationally and internationally known bands and performers every June. Since its inception in 2002, the festival has pioneered programs that reduce its environmental impact and encourage fans to embrace environmentally conscientious lifestyles throughout the year. The festival is the only six-time U.S. recipient of “A Greener Festival” award, the international standard for environmentally efficient music festivals.

“Bonnaroo is setting an example for both high musical standards and low environmental impact,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. “In opening their own wallets to ensure a cleaner, greener concert experience, fans sent out a heartening message about the American public’s embrace of solar power.”