I have recently completed production on an 11-minute mini-documentary following the development and construction of phase 3 of Butte College’s solar project. This record setting project makes Butte College the first in the world to become “grid positive.” It was an exciting 2- year process being there from the start all the way through to the ribbon cutting and final commissioning of the arrays. Being a one-man-band, I enjoyed every step of the process from shooting to writing scripts to narrating and final editing.
During the past couple of weeks I had the pleasure to again work in news with ex-colleague and friend, Debbie Cobb from Action News here in Chico. I produced a short three part news series from the footage I’ve acquired during the past 18 months documenting solar installations here in Northern California, the main one, of which was the record-setting rooftop array installed at the Sierra Nevada Brewery by Chico Electric. The first part aired tonight and the following two nights will feature parts two and three.
Solar energy projects have been popping up everywhere. I recently was hired to provide aerial photography for five new solar arrays; one here in Chico on top of the Sierra Nevada Brewery installed by Chico Electric, two in the bay area, one just north of Bakersfield and one near Los Angeles by Perpetual Power. It’s really hard not to love your job when it includes grabbing quality images while banking hard turns a mere 1000-feet above the ground. Usually, I hire small Cessnas like 172’s or 162’s because they can fly nice and slow and two of my favorite pilots are Jimmy Bryant who flies air attack missions for CDF during the fire season and Amy Ellis of Bridgeford Flying Services. However, for the trip near Bakersfield, no regular fixed-wind aircraft were available, so I flew a little after midday in a very cool small ultralight. Now that time of day is when thermals make for a pretty bumpy ride in a regular plane…so I was very, VERY, glad to have fast optically stabilized lenses with me!
I’ve been following the solar array installation at the Sierra Nevada Brewery since it began in October of 2007 for inclusion in a documentary on solar energy in the north state. When completed, the rooftop array will be the largest privately owned array on a commercial facility in the country. This morning, solar panels were being installed on one of the few remaining roofs that still are not making power. But the crews from Chico Electric, the contractor installing the record-setting array, get going before sunrise. So that meant it was up at 4:40 this morning to load both photo and video equipment, get down to Chico, and bum a lift up to the tall roof by 6:00am. The smell of hops while watching the sun come up over the Sierra Nevada mountains is an experience I won’t soon forget.
- Solar Sunrise