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Helios 250 Mobile Stage

PLSN Staff • Product Spotlight • October 13, 2011

Solar-Powered Stage from Kleege Industries and Sustainable Waves

Kleege Industries has been around since Nevin Kleege designed and built his first “plank and ply” stage in 1984. Sustainable Waves has been an alternative energy trail-blazer for eight years. The two companies got together to come up with Helios 250, a solar-powered mobile stage. It toured the country from May to August 2011 with the Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown and Vans Warped tours, soaking up the rays and providing enough power, even on cloudy and rainy days, to provide 120 amps at 120V for up to 12 hours.

Self-Sustainable

Measuring 32 by 24 feet, with a roof cap weighing 12,000 lbs., its power system includes a 4.83kW solar array, two 800 amp batteries and four OutBack Power inverters that pump the 120 amp/120V juice for the stage’s electrical needs.  The stage’s 10kW biodiesel generator was equipped with an auto start feature — just in case. As it turned out, “we did not use the backup bio-generator for even one show,” noted Kleege’s Ken Walker, Jr.

When running purely on solar, the stage’s carbon offset capabilities are impressive. The sun’s rays help the stage avoid emitting close to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per day — offering benefits to the environment comparable to not driving 1,100 miles in a car, or coming up with the same carbon-offset benefits of 66 full-grown trees.

TourTested

This summer, Kevin Lyman’s Country Throwdown and Vans Warped tours had a total of 66 event days. Since the Helios 250 was used instead of conventional staging alternatives, its makers figured that they prevented the emission of approximately 66,000 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — the equivalent of 67,100 miles not driven in a car, or the annual carbon-offset benefits of a veritable forest: 4,026 trees.

“Kleege and Sustainable Waves’ Helios 250 Solar Stage has taken the use of solar technology to a whole new level and could be the standard for the future,” Lyman said. “We have not seen a drop off in available power, even after running the stage for a full six-hour show,” he added.

Chris Stella, stage manager for the Warped tour, cited other advantages with the Helios 250 stage. “The fact that it is completely self-contained means no fuss, no muss, get it in place and start the show,” he noted. “The bands love the fact that they are safe from toxic diesel fumes and the noise of a generator bleeding into their mics,” he added. Stella also suggests the benefits the stage can have for a whole tour’s image. “Having a zero carbon footprint seriously resonates with our crowds.”

 

Helios 250

What it is: A mobile, solar-powered stage from Kleege Industries and Sustainable Waves that can provide 120 amps at 120V for up to 12 hours.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a self-sufficient and carbon-neutral alternative to a conventionally-powered 32-by-24-foot stage.

Pros: No noise or fumes from diesel generators; can be set up anywhere the sun shines.

Cons: You still need a truck to get it from point A to point B. (So far, no solar-powered trucks are available.)

How Much: So far the units are only for rent, not for sale. The base price is $5,000 for two show days, including tech. Lighting and sound gear is extra.

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