Alternative Power Productions (APP) provides solar powered staging and sound equipment for large events, and will again be part of this year’s Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on August 10-12, 2012. Company President Mark McLarry answers some questions about APP and how its technology reduces the environmental impacts of large events and music festivals through the use of alternative energy.
How long has APP partnered at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival?
I first brought solar powered sound and staging to Outside Lands in 2008, and APP will be harnessing the sun’s energy to rock the Panhandle stage in 2012. Another Planet Entertainment and Super Fly were early supporters of this relatively new technology by putting it in front of audiences worldwide.
Other than music festivals, what other events does APP provide for?
APP provides stages and sound for the ESPY Awards, Van’s Warped Tour, Americas Cup, Long Beach Funk Fest, PG&E [Pacific Gas and Electric Co.] sponsored San Francisco Symphony, and more.
Has APP experimented with other forms of alternative energy?
APP is developing wind power technology. Wind power would enable us to use a whole source of natural power, and enables us to garner more power at night.
Other than completely sourcing energy use from solar, what other environmental and sustainable practices does APP utilities?
Our latest and greatest stage, the Helios SL250, has an integrated biodiesel 10-kilowatt generator. The generator has an auto-start feature that allows it to kick on automatically and trickle charge the batteries, making the stage a “solar hybrid” stage.
APP also works strategically with Green Mountain Energy Company focusing on carbon management for events and festivals. In a nutshell, we look at all the activities that make up the event’s carbon footprint, including any grid or generator power, flights by the staff and artist, golf carts, tour buses, etc. In turn, the event produces an equal amount of renewable energy credits, which includes wind and biomass.
How else does APP promote the use of renewable energy? For example, working with non-profits to provide education materials or energy providers like PG&E to promote best energy practices.
I’ve actually done a lot of work with PG&E. I’ve worked with them to create experiential marketing programs using hands on demonstrations of renewable energy. This year APP will be powering the San Francisco Symphony sponsored by PG&E. PG&E is very proactive in the renewable energy space.
I am a lifelong surfer, and the ocean is my church. APP is a big supporter of Surfrider Foundation, and we’ve worked together on several events including “Paddle for Clean Water.” Ocean preservation is very important to me.
Is there a next step in APP’s future?
Absolutely. APP is to be recognized as a pioneer in solar powered production, and we are developing new technologies to expand our offerings. We recently partnered with Kleege Industries, which owns and operates the largest fleet of mobile stages in the country. The Helios SL250 [32ft x 24ft] is a creation by APP and Kleege. We retrofitted it with a 4.83 kW solar array, [two] 800 amp forklift batteries, [four] 30 amp inverters giving us 120 amps of head room, and [one] 10 kW biodiesel generator as backup to trickle charge the batteries. This is the stage we’re using at Outside Lands. Ultimately, we are working towards alternative energy being the norm in the production world.
For more information about Alternative Power Productions, visit their official website.