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Bonnaroo captures the sun!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Bonnaroo Festival has announced the completion of it’s fully operational solar array, which will generate 61,000 kilowatt hours per year, or about 20% of the festival’s power needs. Bonnaroo will also be selling its renewable energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority power grid.

Celebrating its 12th year as a leader in environmentally friendly concert events, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival continues to spearhead aggressive new initiatives that raise the bar in shrinking the carbon footprint of one of the largest, most popular festivals in the USA.

In a groundbreaking effort to actively reduce its energy consumption, Bonnaroo organizers and representatives and Vermont-based Encore Redevelopment announced today the completed construction and installation of the country’s first permanent solar array for a music festival. The 50 kW solar photovoltaic, (PV), system will support a notable portion of the festival’s energy needs. Construction of the new solar array is complete, and it is already generating energy in advance of the 2013 festival.

“Running part of Bonnaroo on solar power has long been a goal, as it underscores the commitment of Bonnaroo organizers and our community to the environment,” said festival partner Rich Goodstone from Superfly Presents. “None of this could have been possible without the immense support of the generous and forward-thinking Bonnaroo community. Their contributions have brought this project to fruition.” The solar project was fully funded by “opt-in” contributions that fans select during the ticket-buying process. In effect for the past three years and always focused on sustainable site improvements, past opt-in dollars have been used to fund the compost pad, the garden, and last year’s mobile tower of power. In addition, a $1 fee was added to every ticket sold in 2012 to generate guaranteed resources for additional green initiatives onsite. As a result, Bonnaroo fans can take full  credit for helping Bonnaroo expand its commitment to environmentally focused projects and programs.

The array system, which was planned by Encore Redevelopment and installed by Sustainable Future, is comprised of 196 American-made SolarWorld solar panels along with microinverters and related components that will be mounted to the roof of a metal structure in the festival’s back stage area. It will generate more than 61,000 kWh per year, about 20 percent of Bonnaroo’s total electricity needs. While it will not be visible to patrons, fans will be able to see an educational display in Planet Roo and also monitor the power generated on the festival website. “Sustainable Future is pleased to be helping Bonnaroo with its sustainability initiative by providing a solar system that will generate clean solar power for music lovers for many decades to come,” said David Bolt, company founder. “It’s a pleasure to work with such a progressive group.”

Vermont-based renewable energy development firm Encore Redevelopment outlined the technical, social, and economic value of a solar array for the venue and managed the groundbreaking project from concept to commissioning. Encore Founder and CEO Chad Farrell said about the endeavor, “We are thrilled to have been part of this exciting project, which will allow for a significant portion of the total. The sun, never is short supply at Bonnaroo, will provide clean, renewable energy and about 20 percent of the festival’s total electricity needs. The 50 kW solar system at Bonnaroo will generate more than 61,000 kWh per year. The new solar array is already generating energy in advance of the 2013 festival.

Bonnaroo has been awarded the Greener Festival Award all six times  since its inception in 2006, and currently holds the Award in the ‘Highly Commended’ category.