Jrs V12 I08


Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 12, Issue #8
December 18, 2007

Greetings friends! As we drift ever closer to the holidays, this Rabbit is prone to thoughts about gifting.  There really is no better time to bring home the gifting principle as we’ve learned it in Black Rock City, remembering that gifts aren’t necessarily material goods, and that a true gift is given without expectation of anything in return.

Just a thought to stick in your holiday stocking (or non- denominational, politically correct receptacle of choice) …  how can you rethink and recast your gifting this year? Perhaps create something, or provide a service, or donate to a charity in somebody’s name? What if you were to ask your loved ones to — rather than spend money on you — consider creating, doing or donating instead?

With that in mind, in this issue, we highlight some recent and ongoing gifting in action.

We start with the truly heartwarming story about Black Rock Solar. Burning Man LLC donated 72 solar panels that had powered the Man this year to the Pershing General Hospital in Lovelock, and volunteer Burners donated their time to install them.  Over the next 20 years, this solar array will generate an estimated $130,000 of free, carbon neutral energy for the hospital, allowing them to use those funds for other purposes.  (More info: http://tinyurl.com/2rlctz)

Not bad, eh?

Well, they didn’t stop there …  BRS went from there to Gerlach, where they helped install an array of solar panels at the Gerlach school campus, expected to generate up to 162,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually for the next 25 years.  The total energy savings over that time period is expected to surpass $480,000.  The approximately $20,000 per year savings will directly benefit the students and faculty of the rural school.  The hardworking crew toiled in frigid 20-degree weather to install the array, culminating in the ribbon cutting ceremony today at noon.  If you can’t be there, at least check out our live webcam (http://tinyurl.com/7n24e), and see for yourself what Gerlach looks like on this auspicious day! (By night, you’ll see the water tower, which our ice sales donations helped repair, illuminated with pretty holiday lights.)

Meanwhile, Burners Without Borders is hard at work raising money ($5,000 as of this writing) and welcoming disaster relief volunteers to Pisco, Peru to help build housing for Peruvians who are recovering from the recent earthquake which left 80,000 people homeless.  Find out how you can sponsor a home or to learn how you can help support this project by visiting http://www.burnerswithoutborders.org

Theeeeeeen …  there’s Lawyers For Burners, who are gifting their legal skills to Burners who got nabbed by the law.  We relate an update to this ongoing story below.

Now, if you’re looking for a way to lighten your 2007 tax burden, why not consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Black Rock Arts Foundation, which funds community-based art off the playa? Yes, why not indeed? Here, we’ll make it easy for you: http:// www.donatetoblackrockarts.org/.

On a lighter note, our friend Reverend Billy premiered his documentary “What Would Jesus Buy?” in New York City and then here in San Francisco several weeks ago.  If you haven’t seen this film, please try.  It’s at once a wonderful testament to gifting, a chilling observation on rampant commercialism, and a portrait of courageous perseverance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.  Check out the official website to see a fun intro, a great trailer, and to find it in a theater near you: http://www.wwjbmovie.com

Finally, as my gift to you (well, technically it’s my job, but hey …), I’ve turned over the Burning Man website homepage to reflect burn year 2008, with lots of goodies for you to check out. That’s http://www.burningman.com (in case you didn’t know).  I’ve added links to the latest ticket sales information for 2008 (including the fact that …  yep …  we’re NOT selling tickets at the gate this year), and a reminder that ticket sales start Wednesday, January 16 at 10am PST! Oh heck, you can just hit http:// tickets.burningman.com and sop up all the gorey details.

Burn on, stay warm, and give where it counts, y’all …  wherever you are.

-PQ (Associate Rabbit)

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Burning Man, MMA Renewable Ventures, Sierra Pacific Power Collaborate for Community Clean Energy

Gerlach, Nev.  – December 18, 2007 – Students in Gerlach will be celebrating a “green” Christmas because their campus will soon be powered by renewable energy.  An array of solar panels installed at the campus is expected to generate up to 162,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually for the next 25 years.  The total energy savings over that time period is expected to surpass $480,000.  The approximately $20,000 per year savings will directly benefit the students and faculty of the rural school, according to the Washoe County School District.

Gerlach’s new 90-kilowatt, photovoltaic, solar power system resulted from a pioneering collaboration between Sierra Pacific Power, Burning Man, MMA Renewable Ventures and the Washoe County School District. The panels were installed at no charge to the school district through a combination of donated labor and materials and Sierra Pacific’s SolarGenerations rebate program.  “The Burning Man community has long been a part of the Northern Nevada community, and when this opportunity to give something back came up we jumped on it,” explained Marian Goodell, board member of Black Rock City, LLC.

Representatives from the town of Gerlach, the school district, Burning Man, Sierra Pacific and MMA Renewable Ventures will celebrate the completion of the ground-mounted solar array on Tuesday, Dec. 18.  The installation consists of three 30-kilowatt solar systems, and they provide nearly enough electricity to supply all of the energy needed for the campus, according to Bruce Deetken, energy manager for the school district.  The Gerlach campus consists of three schools that serve 83 students from kindergarten through high school.

“The solar panels will give our students good insight into the different ways we can address global warming issues with renewable energy,” said Gerlach Principal Carol Kaufmann, adding that she is working with the Desert Research Institute in Reno to incorporate the solar project into their science curriculum.

“Because Gerlach is somewhat isolated, it is difficult to provide the students with the same opportunities afforded to students in other parts of Washoe County,” Kaufmann said.  “That’s another reason why this is a great opportunity for us.”

Tuesday’s event will also premiere the Burning Man organization’s plans, through the Black Rock Solar project, to install several more solar projects in northern Nevada in cooperation with Sierra Pacific and the SolarGenerations program.  Rebates for schools and public buildings participating in the program amount to $5 per watt of installed solar energy.

“Our goal is to build low or no cost solar systems for communities that otherwise might not develop them, and to build high-profile projects that help speed the adoption of solar energy in Nevada,” added Tom Price with Black Rock Solar.

Project costs will be partially offset by a $450,000 rebate provided through the SolarGenerations program established by the Nevada State Legislature in 2003 to encourage Nevadans to install solar energy. The program is administered by Sierra Pacific Power in northern Nevada and Nevada Power Company in Las Vegas.  “Thanks to our State Legislature and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, our state has one of the most aggressive programs in the nation to encourage solar energy,” Sierra Pacific Program Manager John Hargrove said. “We are excited to join with Black Rock Solar in helping schools and public facilities to go green and save money on their energy bills.”

Engineering expertise and labor for the Gerlach project was provided free of charge by Black Rock Solar, a nonprofit project of Black Rock City, LLC, which produces the annual Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert north of Gerlach, and by Brooks Engineering, one of the leading experts in PV system design.

MMA Renewable Ventures, a leading clean energy project finance firm, provided the solar electric equipment.  The Gerlach solar energy system celebration follows on today’s dedication ceremony for another MMA Renewable Ventures project in Nevada, a 14-megawatt system at Nellis Air Force Base that is now the largest photovoltaic array in North America.

“This collaboration for solar energy in Gerlach is an extension of our philosophy that renewable energy should be cost effective and accessible to all in this country, from the largest corporations to the smallest rural towns,” said Matt Cheney, CEO of MMA Renewable Ventures.  “We are proud to be helping the community with a reliable source of clean energy and helping Gerlach’s schools focus their resources on their children.”

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Tuesday December 18, 2007, at noon, 555 East Sunset Boulevard in Gerlach.  Images and video available upon request.

About Burning Man
The annual art event known as Burning Man, which began on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, has grown to attract more than 47,000 participants annually, from every state of the Union and twenty-two countries worldwide.  For the last seventeen years, the increasingly popular and influential event has been held in the Black Rock Desert outside of Reno, Nevada.  Based on corporate accounting and participant survey data, it is estimated that Burning Man contributes almost $20 million annually to the northern Nevada economy.  For more information, visit http://www.burningman.com.

About MMA Renewable Ventures
A subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC “MuniMae,” (NYSE: MMA), MMA Renewable Ventures finances, owns and operates renewable energy and energy efficiency assets in the United States.  The Company provides leases, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and other customized financial solutions to help its customers manage energy costs.  MMA Renewable Ventures is dedicated to delivering competitively priced, clean energy and energy savings to customers, strong partnership options for project developers, and exceptional opportunities for institutional investment in the clean energy sector.  For more information about MMA Renewable Ventures, visit http://www.mmarenewableventures.com.

About Sierra Pacific Power
Headquartered in Reno, Nevada, Sierra Pacific Power Company is the principal utility for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California.  It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sierra Pacific Resources (NYSE: SRP), which also is the holding company for Nevada Power Company, the electric utility for southern Nevada.  Sierra Pacific Power also distributes natural gas in the Reno-Sparks area of northern Nevada.  For more information, visit http:// www.sierrapacific.com.

About Black Rock Solar
Black Rock Solar is a non-profit project of the Burning Man community, focused on addressing climate change and speeding the adoption curve of renewable energy.  By installing renewable energy at low or no cost, Black Rock Solar puts much needed funds in the hands of communities typically not served by the renewable energy industry, who then get to decide how to best meet their own needs. Along the way, Black Rock Solar creates educational opportunities for volunteers and beneficiaries, and sponsor training to broaden the solar power industry.  Future projects will also include installation art that explore these themes.  For more information visit http:// www.blackrocksolar.org.



Volunteers affiliated with Burning Man are helping the Pershing General Hospital in Lovelock reduce its carbon footprint – and save money on its electric bill – with photovoltaic solar panels that will be generating 60,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

The project is getting a major boost from Sierra Pacific Power Company’s SolarGenerations program, which provided a $150,000 rebate to help the Burning Man organization to provide the project to the hospital for free.  The project was completed Nov.  20, 2007.

Over the next 20 years, the donated solar array will generate an estimated $130,000 of free, carbon neutral energy for the hospital, allowing them to use those funds for other purposes.

The solar panels, capable of producing 30 kilowatts (30,000 watts), were installed by Black Rock Solar, a nonprofit project of Black Rock City, LLC, which produces the annual Burning Man event.  This is the first of what is expected to be many Black Rock Solar projects which, through the Sierra Pacific Power SolarGenerations program, will bring low or no cost renewable energy to schools and other public buildings in Nevada.  Black Rock Solar is also currently installing a 90- kilowatt solar system for the schools in Gerlach, which is expected to be completed in December.

Project Celebrated on November 20
Hospital staff, representatives of Pershing County, as well as Black Rock Solar and Sierra Pacific Power celebrated the completion of the project in Lovelock with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the hospital on November 20.

“This is an opportunity for Burning Man to give back to the communities that have supported the event, and to increase awareness of alternative energy,” said Matt Mynttinen, project manager for Black Rock Solar.  “Doing this also promotes the core principles of Burning Man, which includes acts of unconditional gift giving.”

The solar panels could supply up to half of the hospital’s energy needs, according to Matt Reese, chief executive officer of Pershing General Hospital.  “We’re really excited about the project,” Reese said.  “It will save the hospital thousands of dollars annually on energy costs, which represents dollars that can be invested in new medical equipment that could save lives.  We’re also pleased because this is a green project so we are helping protect the environment.”

“The Black Rock Solar group is taking a very unique and innovative approach toward bringing solar energy to many of the communities in which they are involved.  We are very excited to be a part of this great effort,” said John Hargrove, manager of the SolarGenerations program.

More coverage: http://tinyurl.com/38mjk5

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Got Ticket?

If you or anyone you know got a BLM citation this year then pay attention to your court date.  If you haven’t gotten a “Notice To Appear” yet, you’ll probably be getting one soon.  But, don’t just pay the fine.  Find out what Lawyers for Burners has to say about whether you should fight the charges or not.  Also, if you are a licensed attorney who wants to participate in this exciting project, send an email to lawyers (at) lawyersforburners (dot) com.  Stand up for your civil rights and help make Black Rock City safe from illegal searches and police harassment! If you’re not a lawyer and you’d still like to help, then please consider making a financial contribution to the cause.  All proceeds will be used for court costs, travel expenses and out-of-state legal fees.  Check out http:// www.lawyersforburners.com for more information.

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We still have a good number of digital cameras in our found items collection, and we’d like to see them returned to their owners.  You can find descriptions of the cameras in the year-round topics section of our eplaya bulletin board:


Look for posts beginning with “2007” in the subject header.  Claim your lost camera by providing the serial number, make, model, and/or descriptions of captured images, especially non-Burning Man images.

We’ll be shutting down our 2007 lost and found return efforts when tickets for Burning Man 2008 go on sale in mid-January, so if you haven’t already, act soon for any and ALL items lost on the playa in 2007.  Check out the eplaya or email lostandfound (at) burningman (dot) com with a thorough description.  Here’s to many more happy reunions!


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