Black Rock Solar Has a Banner Week

[This post comes to you courtesy of Black Rock Solar’s Marnee Benson.]

Rupert Powers, Freddy Pete, and Norman Fillmore of the Washoe Tribe atop Stewart Community Center

Black Rock Solar, one of Black Rock City LLC’s spin-off non-profit organizations, completed work last week on two new solar arrays for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada. The 14 kW roof-top arrays will provide electricity for the Stewart Community Center, where community members attend meetings and cultural events, and to the Head Start building, where educational programs and support services are provided for tribal youth.

Dave Lasky

These are Black Rock Solar’s third and fourth projects for the Washoe Tribe. Through these projects, BRS worked with members of the tribe to provide hands-on job training and classroom education in photovoltaic systems.

These two installations were supervised by Dave Lasky, one of Nevada’s most recent North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certified solar installers, a distinction held by only 22 people in the entire state.

Western Nevada College Array

Also last week, BRS completed work on their largest array to date, for Western Nevada College, located in Carson City, NV. This 201 kW installation will provide a savings of $28,000 per year for the college.  The crew (including 5 newly hired members) dug 518 holes to build the racking system, and installed 836 solar panels at a value of just under $1 million.

This is the first in a series of arrays BRS will be doing across the state for the Nevada System of Higher Education. The dedication ceremony for WNC is scheduled for April 18th, 2012, a few days before the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day. For information, visit the Black Rock Solar website.

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.

5 Comments on “Black Rock Solar Has a Banner Week

  • Erik Schorr says:

    What was the cost to the college for the larger of these two projects, and how much was funded with grants? Having $1M in solar panels installed to save $23K/year means it pays for itself in 35 years, which is well beyond the equipment’s life expectancy. Seems I’m missing something.

    I’m also curious how much excess power from this system gets stored locally for cloudy/dark times and how much gets fed back into the grid.

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  • Tom Price says:

    The project was completely paid for with rebates from NV Energy, so the cost to the college was zero. Put another way, every penny they save can go to better serve students.

    The system is “net metered” which means energy isn’t stored. Instead, as it’s made it goes out into the grid to be used, and spins the meter backwards. Then, at night, when there’s use it spins forward. The net difference between use and production is how much the school pays for, and since it’s still connected to the grid, everything works exactly the same.

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  • Juanita Masblanco says:

    $1M in solar panels will never pay for itself, ever. It’s something the state of NV can ill afford right now, if ever. As usual, taxpayers are stuck with the bill. (Memories of Solandra.)

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  • Droidle says:

    Yes guys, I’m going to have to agree with the others, it’s time to find a more cost effective way to save money. We are innovators. So innovate. Perhaps it’s time to shift our resources into free energy… Solar is so 1973… It’s obviously not getting any more cost effective.

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  • Craig (Bear) says:

    Solar is not very cost-effective right now because the technology costs so much compared to the energy output. But the technology is improving. Hopefully in a few years we’ll see improvements that make it very affordable. There have already been some recently, and I trust there are people working on even more.

    Another thing to consider is the environmental cost. For every kW of solar or wind, we are burning less coal and creating less nuclear waste. I hope that the inefficient spending does not have to continue like this, but I also hope we can hold on long enough to invent efficient, cost-effective and ecologically sound systems to keep our planet powered after the fossil fuel age is done.

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