The annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, named one of the "50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll" by Rolling Stone magazine, has become the United States first major music festival to install a permanent solar array at its site.
The 50 kW solar The 50 kW solar photovoltaic system was fully funded by “opt-in” contributions that fans select while buying their tickets and $1 added to each ticket purchased.
The fee, in place for the past three years, has previously funded the "mobile tower of power," the compost pad, and the festival's garden.
Last year, the festival added a $1, non-optional fee to all ticket sales, the proceeds from which are also set aside to fund additional green projects.
"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 Rich Goodstone of Superfly Presents, a partner of Bonnaroo. "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."
Festival organizers said in a written statement they expect the array, comprised of 196 SolarWorld panels, will generate 61,000 kilowatt hours per year -- the equivalent of about 20 percent of the festival's power needs.
Bonnaroo will also be selling its renewable energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority power grid.
In November, Bonnaroo announced that for the sixth consecutive year it was a recipient of “A Greener Festival Award” in recognition of its ongoing and extensive sustainability initiatives. Bonnaroo is the only six-time U.S. recipient of “A Greener Festival” award, an internationally recognized independent scheme for environmentally aware festivals which is available for events throughout Europe, North America and Australia.
Over the years, has been highly praised for its diversion of more than 3 million pounds of waste from landfills through its recycling and composting program - 296,000 pounds of which is the result of using Eco-Products' compostable cutlery and serving ware throughout the festival.
Although the solar array won't be visible to festival attendees (it's mounted on a roof in the backstage area), information about it will be included in a display in the festival's "Planet Roo," a section of the fair set aside to foster sustainable initiatives.