A Solar-Friendly Fair and Portable Solar Stages…Really?

solar carosel

This merry-go-round is completely powered by the two solar arrays behind it.

Have you ever wondered whether solar energy is truly becoming more practical?  While solar panel systems are being installed on enormous warehouse rooftops, are there advancements in solar technology which make short-term and smaller solar powered projects feasible?  There is good evidence that besides being practical for homeowners interested in clean energy and lower electricity bills, solar is useful for entertainment events, using both stationary and portable solar panels.

Marin County Fair

Last month at the Marin County Fair in San Rafael, California, much fuss was made toward achieving environmental friendliness. In addition to the usual blue ribbons, thrilling rides, animals, and enticing foods, environmental stewardship was at the heart of the event.

On the roof of the fair’s exhibit hall, 744 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed. A good 40% of the annual kilowatt usage at the fair is supplied by the sun.  Incorporating clean energy into the equation prevents an estimated 133 tons of carbon dioxide emission, along with other benefits provided by additional (non-solar) eco-friendly measures.

Sun-Powered Carousel

The Marin County Fair touts the first ever solar powered carousel at a county fair.  This eco-friendly carousel, which features 18 horses and one chariot, can accommodate 40 passengers. The ride is retrofitted with over 1,000 LED lights and a single-phase motor.  The carousel is powered not by the solar panels on the exhibit hall but instead by a portable solar array.

solar powered stage

The lighting, sound, and all other equipment are powered by the solar panels standing out in the crowd.

Performance Stage

The solar powered carousel isn’t the only solar record that the Marin County Fair has broken.  In fact, the Ben & Jerry’s Solar Stage at the fair which is generated by solar panels is the first solar-powered stage at a county fair.

Solar is just one of numerous routes toward a cleaner world and increased use of renewable resources.  Other sources of green energy are also a focal point of the Marin County Fair.  For instance, another concert stage at the fair is powered by 99% vegetable oil biodiesel.  And the wind is also harnessed as an energy source at the fair.  A propeller-free (bird-friendly) vertical turbine runs exterior lighting near the entrance of the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium; another record – this is the first ever wind turbine that has been installed at the California fairgrounds.

Making Solar Tracks

One more solar achievement to be mentioned here which was on display at the Marin County Fair was a trackless train which is all-electric and solar powered.  Fair guests were able to take excursion rides on the solar train daily.

Crank Up the Sound

County fairs are annual events and, as proven at the Marin County Fair, excellent occasions in which to utilize clean solar energy.  A portable solar powered concert stage is another type of entertainment that’s growing in popularity and which, in contrast to a county fair, can be utilized year-around.

If you imagine that a portable solar-powered stage gives a diminished experience, think again.  Solar stages provide the full sound experience as well as the added bonus of being environmentally friendly.

Solar-powered concert stages have a proven record of providing the volume and quality of music audiences expect.  And over time the stages have gotten bigger so that just about any event can now be powered by a portable solar stage. Besides the solar panel array, huge batteries, weighing about 3,500 pounds, are a part of what helps to make large portable solar-powered concert stages work. So back to the original question that many homeowners may ask:  Is solar energy becoming more practical than ever?  It’s accurate and fair to concertedly say “Yes.”


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