Black Rock Solar


In 2010 Black Rock Solar hit a real milestone – ONE MEGAWATT of solar power installed. That’s a million watts of renewable energy, people. We've come a long way since our first installation, an array we gave to the town of Gerlach in 2007.

That first array? It was used to power the Man on playa during the Green Man-themed Burning Man event and was installed later that autumn at the Gerlach School, where it now supplies over 30% of the energy used by the elementary, middle, and high schools in Gerlach, saving that community over $15,000 per year.

Black Rock Solar's hard work was recognized by Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, who issued a proclamation declaring Highway 447 America’s Solar Highway. Thanks to Black Rock Solar's efforts in gifting solar power to those in need, there are more watts of solar power (about 17) along Highway 447 per mile than any other highway in the USA.

This year Black Rock Solar really dove into our education and outreach programs.  We wrote and produced an interactive play called “Kilowatts and Climate Change,” created a junior high unit called Solar 101, began work on a high school Environmental Law unit, and provided field trips for hundreds of students to see our arrays and learn about inspiring organizations in our community. 

We also held numerous meetings, discussions, and job training sessions to teach members of the public, solar professionals, elected officials, and financial experts about the benefits of solar power.  These gatherings were the first of their kind in Nevada!

In the spring of 2010 Black Rock Solar formed a coalition of non-profit organizations working on economic sustainability, renewable energy, and environmental stewardship with Nevada schools.  We named our group GREENevada, and we’ve been working together with teachers and students at every grade level to enhance curriculum and improve classroom experience.  We look forward to 2011 and a sustainability competition for high school students in Washoe County.

In June, one of our installers came up with a great idea while we were planning an array at the Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitor’s Center: assemble the array in the shape of an arrowhead! We took the idea and ran with it, and now the array, one of eight we’ve installed for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in Nixon, points directly to the highway that transports most of us to the playa and back home again.  Congratulations to Wakan Waci Blindman- our first Paiute apprentice and now full time crew member- on his bright idea!

Here's a list of all the projects completed in between the 2009 and 2010 Burns:

11/09: Bishop Manogue Catholic High School, 100 kW

1/10: Food Bank of Northern Nevada, 150 kW

3/10: Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, 20 kW

4/10: Rainshadow Community Charter High School, 31 kW

4/10: Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitor Center, 18 kW

6/10: Pyramid Lake High School, 135 kW

6/10: Pyramid Lake High School ball field, 30 kW

6/10: Pyramid Lake High School well, 30 kW

7/10: Fernley Fire Station #1, 30 kW

For further information and photographs, please visit

District: Everywhere

At District: Everywhere Black Rock Solar partnered again with the Burning Man Regional Network, Black Rock Arts Foundation, and Burners Without Borders to create one giant installation representing the outreach groups and non-profit organizations of Burning Man. Between the four organizations we had daily programming and hosted one hell of a fun party.  Black Rock Solar hosted our first ever Solar Sessions, coordinated with members of the greater Burning Man community, where we discussed everything from grey water solutions and solar panels to greenhouse gases and climate change. District: Everywhere was a great place to take refuge from the heat and connect with other Burners from all over the world!


Black Rock Solar faced a lot of transition in 2010. August saw the departure of three staffers: one of our founders, and the first Executive Director of Black Rock Solar, Tom Price; Construction Manager Richard Scott; and System Designer Joe Pizur.  As they moved on to other projects, Program and Development Manager Marnee Benson stepped up to serve as Interim Executive Director until the arrival of our new Executive Director, Paddy McCully, in February 2011. John Sturdevant was hired on as Project Manager and has a big job ahead of him as we look to install 850 kW before next year’s Burning Man.

2011 promises to bring more change. In addition to installing new arrays, we’ll be expanding our educational program as well as our engagement in the arts world. Happy new year!

Submitted by,
The Staff and Crew of Black Rock Solar