30 Jun 2016

30 years of solar power at Glastonbury Festival

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Last week marked 30 years of music being powered by Wind & Sun at Glastonbury Festival.

We have been running PA equipment and stage lighting completely off-grid since 1986. This concept was originally conceived as a way to demonstrate the potential of renewable energy, by presenting a positive alternative to nuclear energy & nuclear weapons.

For almost all this time we have been teamed up with Croissant Neuf and the venue is now firmly established as part of the festival programme.

This year, in addition to powering equipment on the main Croissant Neuf stage, power was provided around the Croissant Neuf field for a Bandstand stage, area festoon lighting, a café’s lights and refrigeration and battery charging for phones etc.

Croissant Neuf themselves were also celebrating their 30th anniversary at Glastonbury and to mark the occasion there were some special events:

Wind & Sun Powering The Big Top In 1986 At Glastonbury Festival

Wind & Sun powering the Big Top in 1986

Michael Eavis With Vodka Jellies Karaike Band Glastonbury 2016

Michael Eavis visited on the Thursday evening and joined the ‘Vodka Jellies Live Karaoke Band’ on stage to sing ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ and ‘My Way’. Vodka Jellies Live Karaoke Band at Glastonbury 2016 video


Special guests Travis packed the tent on Saturday as part of the celebrations and the whole field sang along to hits such as ‘Why does it always rain on me? ’. Lead singer Fran Healy described the solar power as ‘witchcraft’!

 alt=The Crowd For Travis Playing In Croissant Neuf At Glastonbury 2016


Despite the rain we all survived the mud  proving that solar power doesn’t need bright sunshine to work and are looking forward to doing even more next year!


How we do it

30 years ago power was provided mostly from small wind generators (as solar PV was then prohibitively expensive) but over the years wind has taken a back seat and solar come to the fore.

Wind & Sun On A Sunny Day In 1993 At Glastonbury 2016

Wind & Sun on a sunny day in 1993

Wind & Sun Mobile Solar Generator

Our latest mobile solar generator is based in a converted ex-police 'Special Vehicle' and uses 2 x Sunny Island inverters with  25kWh of Rolls AGM Series 5 batteries  capable of powering loads up to 10kW.

A 1.5kWp REC solar array on the roof charges the battery.

The lorry carries cables and equipment to enable a 'mini-grid' to be formed at event sites for distribution of the power or to allow further solar generation to be coupled in.