AFTERBURN REPORT 2012
Black Rock Solar
We also installed our biggest solar array to date: 201.2 kilowatts powering the Cedar Building at Western Nevada College. And we branched into Southern Nevada for the first time, installing at the College of Southern Nevada and The Shade Tree.
This year saw increased partnerships with Native American tribes, including the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, and the Yerington Paiute Tribe. We built seven arrays for these tribes and added another 130 kW at the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe High School. In all cases Black Rock Solar worked closely with tribal leaders and provided job training for tribe members. Apprentices worked side by side with BRS the crew and learned solar installation skills.
We also ramped up our educational field trips, bringing dozens of students to our partner sites where they got the chance to learn how photovoltaics work, as well as how our partners serve their communities. Our field trip program is geared perfectly to 6th-8th graders, with an informational scavenger hunt, interactive play and a chance to see solar panels up close.
This year, Burning Man again offered ticket buyers the chance to make a donation with their purchase. We received an unprecedented number of donations to Black Rock Solar, which we were able to put to very good use. In April 2012, we followed that up with a formal fundraising campaign in association with Groupon Grassroots. The funds all went to the construction of a new solar carport for The Shade Tree in Las Vegas. The Shade Tree is an incredible organization: a shelter for women, children and their pets escaping situations of domestic violence. Without donations, The Shade Tree could afford only a small solar array. With the construction of a carport structure, we were able to install enough solar panels to save the shelter $5,600 every year.
The face of Black Rock Solar is changing, as we bring in amazing new people and see our established staff and crew find new successes. We expanded our communications department and internship program, hired a new program manager in Southern Nevada, and launched an energy efficiency program that includes working closely with northern Nevada tribes. The BRS Board of Directors welcomed three new members, including Dan Porras of the Christensen Fund who gifted us a fabulous new website.
Two of our founding members achieved new successes this year. Crew Supervisor David Lasky become one of only 22 NABCEP certified solar professionals in Nevada, and Eli Lyon graduated with honors from Truckee Meadows Community College, earning an Associate of Applied Sciences degree in Construction Technologies with an emphasis in Renewable Energy. Congratulations to them both!
We also said goodbye to one of Black Rock Solar's founding members – Scott Stephenson – at the start of Burning Man 2012. Happy trails, Spoono, we miss you!
BURNING MAN 2012
In front of District Everywhere on the Esplanade, a buzzing metal flower beckoned passersby with interactive lights and a theremin-like soundmaker. "Sun Flower Power" was a solar-powered art piece created by Dinaz Kardooni and partly funded by Black Rock Solar.
Meanwhile across town, the Reno Star Cosmic Thistle bloomed at night with solar-powered lights. Black Rock Solar funded and installed a temporary photovoltaic array to provide the power, but when we had technical issues, we called on our friends at Snow Koan Solar. They came through beautifully, and the Thistle provided a bright landmark for many a Burner at night. You can now see the Reno Star at its permanent home at the intersection of S. McCarran and S. Virginia St. across from Meadowood Mall in Reno.
The Huge Freakin' Laser was an exciting, experimental installation that sought to crystallize the connection between mind and matter … in a huge freakin' laser. Black Rock Solar funded the photovoltaic array that powered the laser, though we never heard back on whether anything got blown up.
All in all, a fantastic year. Thanks to all the amazing people who have supported us in this past year, we have more opportunities than ever before to fulfill our mission. Thanks for helping us Free the Sun!