News Releases

Solar Energy Saves Dollars for Pershing School District

Sep 21, 2009


Media Contacts:
NV Energy– Karl Walquist (775) 834-3891
Black Rock Solar– Tom Price (801) 712-5371

The energy forecast for the Pershing County School District is sunny with lower electric bills now that solar panels have been installed at Lovelock Elementary School and the district's school bus maintenance yard.

On Sept. 22 the school district will receive a $356,170 rebate check from NV Energy's SolarGenerations program to help offset installation costs for the photovoltaic panels, which can generate up to 70 kilowatts (70,000 watts) of electricity. Black Rock Solar, a nonprofit spinoff of the Burning Man project, installed the panels at no charge to the school district, with the balance of the cost funded by donations from the Burning Man Community.

"More than 300 people from around the world chipped in to make this possible, as a way for the Burning Man community to say‘thank you' to Pershing County for hosting the annual event,"explained Black Rock Solar Executive Director Tom Price.

The 3 p.m. presentation at the school will be followed by a"solar"ice cream social for school children and invited guests hosted by NV Energy and Black Rock Solar.

"We've been trying for several years to get alternative energy sources for the school district,” said Pershing County School District Superintendent Dan Fox. “We've always had the interest but not the funding. Due to the hard work of Black Rock Solar and NV Energy it all finally came together."

Fox said the solar panels at the school have already saved the district $1,700 in electricity costs.

The photovoltaic panels will generate approximately 140,912 kilowatt hours of electricity a year for an annual savings to the school district of $18,319, or $457,964 over the expected 25-year life of the panels, according to John Hargrove, project manager for energy efficiency and conservation at NV Energy.  

"Besides saving electricity for the school district, the project should provide students with an opportunity to learn firsthand about alternative energy,"Hargrove said, noting that nearly 3 megawatts of solar energy have been installed statewide at more than 480 locations since the start of the SolarGenerations program in 2004. The program was created by the Nevada State Legislature and expanded by the Legislature to include small wind turbines, and hydroelectric projects on farms and ranches.

This is the tenth completed project for Black Rock Solar, Price said. The group has installed solar panels at Pershing County General Hospital in Lovelock; Natchez Elementary School in Wadsworth; the elementary, middle and high schools in Gerlach; Shelby High School in Shelby, MI; the Joe Crowley Student Union building at the University of Nevada, Reno; the new Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno, and the Pyramid Lake Tribal Health Clinic in Nixon. Together, the cumulative lifetime energy savings from these projects is expected to be more than $2.4 million.

For more information about financial incentives for electric customers who invest in alternative energy, visit NV Energy'swebsite at