Why energy company Väre powered a festival entirely on solar and kinetic energy

Sunplugged attendees powering Vare festival on energy-generating bikes

To prove the effectiveness of solar energy, the Finnish energy company, Väre has teamed up with Hasan + Partners to create a festival powered solely on solar and kinetic energy.

The potential of new-generation energy to perform equally as well as its non-renewable competition has been proven time and time again, yet it still struggles to be taken seriously as a genuine alternative.

Taking place on 13 April in Helsinki, ‘Sunplugged’ welcomed 600 people to seven hours of non-stop music and lighting which was fueled by solar energy and 20 energy-generating bikes.

The Finnish inventor Janne Käpylehto was hired to build solar panels and set up the bicycles.

Although the day ran relatively smoothly, Barbara Sorsa from Hasan + Partners admitted they “had their moments” throughout the event.

According to calculations made beforehand, the calculated usage of energy was around 100KWh, when in reality the concert was much more energy efficient and only used 15KWh. To add context, an apartment with one person uses about 1400KWh per year.

Väre was only launched in 2019 by the merger of Kuopio Energy, Savon Voima, Jyväskylä Energy and Lappeenranta Energy, and it specialises in new-generation energy.

It's marketing director, Satu Kuusinen said they built the festival: "to prove that if we can power a festival with solar power, you can power your home in the same way."

Talking directly to The Drum, Kuusinen said that the festival was a way for them to "differentiate from the energy sector which is quite a conservative field of business."

Although out of the summer festival season, hosting 'Sunplugged' in April demonstrated how solar energy is still effective at this time in Nordic countries where daylight hours are less.

The festival also showed how solar energy can be stored to use at later dates or winter months, to dispel the misconception, in Nordic countries in particular, about their effectiveness.

Anu Niemonen, a creative at Hasan & Partners said that she believes that events organisers are “slowly waking up” to global demands for cleaner, more ecological alternatives to productions; “this year Glastonbury announced it will ban the sale of single-use plastic bottles for the first time,” she cited as an example.

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