Knoxville company brings solar power to Bonnaroo

11:04 AM, Jan 15, 2013   |    comments
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  • Courtesy Sustainable Future
  • Courtesy Sustainable Future

When you pack 80,000 people on a 700 acre farm for four days, you use a lot of energy.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester uses in energy in one week the equivalent of what 50 homes use in an entire year.

To reduce their carbon footprint, Bonnaroo called on Knoxville's Sustainable Future to help.

"It's a very exciting project. They are very progressive and wanted to do something green," said Sustainable Future's founder, David Bolt.

The company decided on a storage facility to house their 196-panel solar array. It will be out of sight to festival goers, but will be providing 20% of the festival's power.

"We're hoping to add some more to get them to 100%," said Bolt.

"A lot goes into the design. We have on staff design and everything is in house. There's a lot of planning," said Sustainable Future Account Manger, Jon Bates.

This isn't the company's first trip to Manchester.

Last year, they provided a solar powered stage and cell phone chargers at the festival.

The new setup doesn't directly provide power to Bonnaroo, but instead, feeds it into the area's power grid.

"This system is generating power all year round. As long as the sun is out it's generating power. And they're selling back power to the grid," said Bates.

That means that Bonnaroo will get paid for the energy the solar panels produce.

"During most of the year they're going to be seeing a negative bill," said Bates.

Festival goers have already funded the $170,000 installation through an optional donation in 2012.

"80,000 ticket holders last year and they all get a piece of this," said Bates.

Bonnaroo is scheduled for June 13th through the 16th in Manchester, about three hours from Knoxville.

Sustainable Future plans to have a booth there to help people learn more about solar energy. Click here to visit Sustainable Future's website.  

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