Black Rock Solar: Getting Clean Energy to Rural Communities

The Burning Man festival

The Burning Man festival. Photo: Shutterstock

When people talk about Burning Man, they are generally talking about the festival where 70,000 journey to the desert of Nevada for a week of dust-filled celebration of fire and art. It is less commonly know that the organization that throws the festival is also a nonprofit. And one of its arms is a nonprofit called Black Rock Solar, which “provides low-cost, high-quality clean energy services to clients in the nonprofit, public, low-income and educational sectors, with a focus on rural and tribal clients.”

Any money Black Rock makes using the energy services is reinvested in “educational and job training programs; small grants for solar-powered art and community clean energy projects; and other activities to promote clean, renewable energy and energy conservation.”

The project actually got its start in the Black Rock Desert where Burning Man takes place, and was born from the Burning Man Project. The Burning Man Project was founded in 2011 and focuses on a variety of ways to give back, educate, and support like-minded organizations. They see this as a way to extend the Burning Man culture globally.

Though Reno is the closest city to the festival in the desert, it’s still at least a two-hour drive though lots of rural and tribal land. Many people living in these communities struggle with everything from access to healthcare and education to poverty and unemployment. The support of these communities is important to the organization, whose festival-goers blow through once a year, clogging the highways and leaving everything from trash to bikes in their wake.

Black Rock Solar has had some notable achievements in its seven years of existence including installing at least 4 megawatts of power in more than 72 separate arrays. NV Highway 447 has more solar cells per mile than any other highway in the USA thanks to Black Rock Solar and their work with communities along the highway.

The organization looks forward to increasing its community engagement and working with homes and small businesses to provide more clean energy to the people of Nevada.

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