News Releases

Nevada Elementary School to receive free solar array from Black Rock Solar, dubbed "Environmental Heroes " by People Magazine

Apr 15, 2008


Media Contacts:
Tom Price, (801) 712-5371 (Black Rock Solar)
Karl Walquist, (775) 834-3891 (Sierra Pacific Power)
Rosalind Jackson, (415) 977-1923 (MMA Renewable Ventures)

Wadsworth, Nev.– The Natchez Elementary School on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe's  Reservation in Nevada will soon be home to a new solar energy system that will generate clean, reliable and free electricity from the sun. The project is being built by Black Rock Solar, with support from MMA Renewable Ventures and Nevada's Sierra Pacific Power Company. In recognition of the organization's work to bring low and no cost solar power to rural schools and hospitals across Nevada, Black Rock Solar Executive Director Tom Price was honored this week as one of People Magazine's"Environmental Heroes"for 2008.

The 60 kilowatt solar power system is expected to generate 108,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, resulting in savings of approximately $360,000 over the next 25 years. Natchez Elementary School and the Washoe County School District will share the savings, with half directly supporting the school's budget and the other half sponsoring a special fund to support conservation efforts throughout the district.

"This new system will help us give our students a very real lesson in the benefits of solar energy,"said Natchez Elementary School Principal Rick Taylor."All in all, the solar array will benefit the environment, give our classrooms a reliable source of electricity, and help us direct precious dollars toward education rather than energy bills."

Black Rock Solar is a non-profit supported by Burning Man, focused on speeding the adoption of renewable energy by delivering low or no cost solar power. Employing an innovative and collaborative approach to solar project development, Black Rock Solar extends Burning Man's spirit of creativity and environmental stewardship to affect real environmental change.

"If we are going to seriously address climate change, we need to make renewable energy available to all, a mission that Black Rock Solar aims to achieve by dramatically lowering the cost of solar for communities that otherwise would not have access to these clean technologies,"said Price."With this solar energy system at Natchez Elementary– the second project of its kind for Black Rock Solar and our partners – we are no longer just asking the question,'what if solar was free?'We're busy answering it."

Located west of the school on Nevada State Route 447, the 240-panel system was made possible through a combination of donated labor from Black Rock Solar, industry expertise and bridge financing from MMA Renewable Ventures, and rebates from Sierra Pacific Power as part of the SolarGenerations program. Established by the Nevada State Legislature in 2003, the SolarGenerations program provides rebates that amount to $5 per watt of installed solar power for schools and public buildings in Nevada. The rebate for the Natchez Elementary School project is expected to be $300,000.

“We're excited to work with partners as enthusiastic and progressive as Black Rock Solar, MMA Renewable Ventures and the Washoe County School District,” said Sierra Pacific Program Manager John Hargrove. “The Nevada Legislature and state utility regulators have made a strong commitment to renewable energy by creating SolarGenerations - one of the most aggressive rebate programs in the nation. This project is a great example of what they're trying to achieve.” 

"MMA Renewable Ventures was founded on the principle of removing the financial and operational barriers typically associated with renewable energy,"said Matt Cheney, CEO of MMA Renewable Ventures."We are proud to be collaborating again with Black Rock Solar and Sierra Pacific Power in order to help make solar energy accessible and affordable to the Paiute community."

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

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,

About MMA Renewable Ventures
A subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage& Equity, LLC“MuniMae,” (OTC:MMAB.PK), 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,

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.