SolarWorld solar blog

Part 1: Roll out the carpet: Behind the scenes with SolarWorld at the Emmys

Posted 9/14/2011 by Devon Cichoski, Media relations manager, SolarWorld Americas

As someone who has lived most of her life in Southern California, it is exactly the contrast between the sensational taking place right next to the everyday that I love about the iconic metropolis of LA.

This morning, immediately after a high-glitz ceremony previewing the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards and the largest solar installation to attend such an event, I took in the labors of work crews carrying out the nuts-and-bolts work of finishing the solar installation as well as the rest of the show’s exterior staging.

SolarWorld solar panel canopy over the red carpet at the 2011 Emmy Awards
Aeral view of SolarWorld solar canopy over the red carpet

But even Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a better setting for a solar debut: a cloudless blue sky, a clamoring pack of paparazzi, and a renowned venue in the heart of Tinseltown. Sure, the crowd outside the Nokia Theatre had been lured by the prospect of seeing Jane Lynch, star of the hit show “Glee” and host of this year’s Emmys, roll out the famed television awards show’s ceremonial red carpet for Sunday.

SolarWorld solar panels over the red carpet at the 63rd annual Emmy awards
Jane Lynch rolling out the red carpet with Fox and Emmy executives

Even the most jaded Hollywood observer couldn’t help but notice that surrounding Lynch was the largest solar installation to ever grace a major awards show.

Along with a couple of SolarWorld colleagues, I joined the crowd outside L.A. Live this morning for the annual “Roll Out the Red Carpet” Emmy Awards media preview. Today’s event was an opportunity for us to introduce the media and world to the SolarWorld array that will power this year’s Emmy Awards, a system totaling almost 50 kilowatts and consisting of more than 200 solar panels.

According to Josh Mark, executive director of special event production and director of sustainability for FOX, the network producing the Emmys, the array is unique not only in its size but in its prominence. The 2009 Teen Choice Awards featured a 2-kilowatt system and the 2007 Emmys hosted a 13-kilowatt system, but in both cases the solar arrays were not only smaller but less visible. With four separate solar canopies surrounding nearly 400 feet of red carpet, solar is a defining feature of this year’s production.

The system will live on beyond the show in the form of a donatation from SolarWorld and Fox to Habit for humanity who will install the solar panels on homes in the LA area.

Solar panel array for the Emmy Awards under construction
Solar panel array under contruction

Come Sunday, the Nokia Theatre courtyard will be decked out in full Emmy regalia – red carpet, elegant decor, a procession of A-list celebrities and, crowning it all, a fully functioning solar system. Just after the crowd dissipated today, however, the courtyard looked more like a construction zone. Installers from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Fox’s stagehands union, continued to mount solar panels and connect wiring into the afternoon. Boom trucks and flatbeds prowled the area. And all around them the familiar car and pedestrian congestion of daily life in Los Angeles scurried around under a typically blue sky. During the last decade, I watched the building of the entertainment center L.A. Live and have come here with fellow Angelenos to mark milestones big and small, from a critical Lakers hoops victory to the televised inauguration of Barack Obama.

SolarWorld solar panels over the red carpet at the 63rd annual Emmy awards
View of solar panel array from the red carpet

As I watch solar energy make its pop-culture splash on Sunday, I will register the behind-the-scenes contrasts. Simultaneously suited for a star-studded awards show and a single-family home, solar is as relevant at the Nokia as it is at a military base, a home in Hollywood, and any small town in America. The Emmys celebrate the best of mainstream American popular culture, and this year SolarWorld will be there.

Tune in this weekend as the solar system readies for its close-up.

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