Renewables for Artists Team


Photograph by Jamen Percy


Doug Hanson "Radio" at Spacecats Final Landing

The Problem

Hundreds of electric generators that burn gasoline and diesel fuels are used each year at Burning Man. While they have provided the electricity needed to power Black Rock City the generators produce noise, odor, harmful air pollution and greenhouse gases. Also, generator operations can cause hazardous liquid spills on to the playa that require expensive cleanup. And, the generators are a health and safety hazard because they emit air pollutants including carbon monoxide that can cause adverse health effects and even death.*

Generators in use at Black Rock City

The Solution

The Renewables for Artists Team (RAT) was formed to assist artists to move away from having to use generators to power their art installations and helps artists who have no or little knowledge about renewable power systems that are suitable for use at Black Rock City.


by Josh Vermette

“Friendship Cube”

by Lindsey Fielding


The RAT is comprised of  individuals who are concerned about the detrimental human and environmental effects the electric generators produce at Black Rock City.  Their collective vision is a hands-on approach to moving Black Rock City towards using renewable energy sources as much as possible that will have a real and quantifiable impact on reducing noise, odor, harmful air pollution and greenhouse gases.


The RAT's Technical Advisors provide hands-on education and mentoring to artists who want to transition from powering their art installations with generators to renewable power systems. The RAT assists artists with: 

Troubleshooting - “Giganty’s Boundless Energy Gadget” 

Building - at the "Empyrean Temple” 

Troubleshooting - “Spacecats Final Landing” 

NEW! RAT "Curiouser and Curiouser" Events

RAT Solar Power 101

Is renewable energy a mystery? Stop by for a talk about renewable energy systems by the Renewables for Artists Team.

1rst Session: Wednesday, August 28, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM, at the Cheezy Oasis, 7:30 and D

2nd Session: Wednesday, August 28, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM, at the Playa Penthouse, 7:30 and A

Followed by:

RAT and the Playa Penthoue Wine and Cheese Soiree

RAT and the Playa Penthouse camp are hosting a wine and cheese soiree for anyone interested in solar/renewable power.

Wednesday, August 28, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM, also at the Playa Penthouse, 7:30 and A


RAT Renewable Powered Art Tour

Curious about renewable powered art? Join the Renewables for Artists Team for a tour of sustainably powered playa art.

Friday, August 30, 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM, Pink ADT sign across from the ARTery Pavilion, 6:30 and Esplanade

Call For Artists!

The RAT Is Seeking Artists to Mentor and Assist for Burning Man 2024 "Curiouser & Curiouser"


In 2022 and 2023 the RAT worked with over 50 playa artists, including the "Empyrean Temple" and the "Temple of the Heart." The RAT helped the artists to successfully transition from using fossil fuels burning generators to renewable power energy sources. 

Burning Man 2024 projects can be as small as a few blinky light strings and more demanding. If selected, the RAT will:

While this call will remain open, we ask that interested artists respond by February 29, 2024 to have the best chance of being accepted. Based on the response to the call the RAT will contact artists in March 2024 about an agreement or to let them know that the project is beyond the scope of available resources at this time. A RAT Technical Advisor will be assigned and a rough schedule of consultation calls would then be set. All assistance will be provided remotely unless the assigned RAT member is local to the artist.

Despite a few rain events the Renewables for Artists Team had a smashingly successful time assisting artists at Burning Man 2023 “Animalia”

RAT Technical Advisors mentored and assisted about twenty-eight artists and four theme camps in powering their installations with renewable energy.

In this photo a very tired RAT leader and Technical Advisor Ken Rehor shows how the solar power system the RAT assisted with designing and building powered the Temple of the Heart.

Tales of Dreamers: Burning Man 2022

Set in Black Rock City 2022, this latest project from the International Wood Culture Society delves into sustainability initiatives in BRC — from Burning Man Project and from a variety of theme camps, artists, and participant groups. Through a series of interviews, “Tales of Dreamers” tells the story of how sustainability projects are coming to life in diverse and innovative ways, and highlights some of the technology being used to make it all happen. 

The Burning Man Project aspires to power the infrastructure and art of Black Rock City via energy from the sun by 2030. Organizations, camps, and artists are heeding this call, engaging Black Rock City and neighboring communities as a testing-ground to research and develop ways to harness and utilize solar power, not only during the annual event on playa, but throughout the rest of the year. As they learn to power The Man, The Temple, camps and MORE, emerging systems, networks, and best practices mark this endeavor to make Black Rock City a carbon-neutral model for future civilization.

The RAT thanks Terence Pratt and the Profiles In Dust media team for producing this important documentary.

RAT Partners

Burning Man Hive

Burning Man Hive is a space for the Burning Man community and the Burner-curious to share their skills and knowledge, to learn from one another, and to support each other’s work in the world.

Green Theme Camp Community

How might theme camps come together to share best practices, form collective values, and design the future role of theme camps to make Black Rock City a sustainable (and regenerative) home?

Burner Leadership Achieving Sustainable Theme Camps

BLAST is a green camp rating system that offers a framework for energy and resource efficient, environmentally conscientious, and regenerative theme camps. We provide an incentive to “Green Your Burn,” awarding camps and their members for successful sustainability efforts. 

Burners Without Boarders

BWB promotes activities around the globe that support a community's inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches to disaster relief and grassroots initiatives that make a positive impact.


We think it’s wild that the world isn’t already running on free, abundant energy provided by the sun. To change that, we created SOLARPUNKS — an interdisciplinary ecosystem designed to help creative industries transition to renewable energy.

The Solar Library

Built by Solarians The Solar Library helps small art in Black Rock City convert to solar by providing sculptural solar panels for battery charging.

Alternative Energy Zone

A Burning Man community free of generators.

Black Rock Labs

Black Rock Labs has been created to help bring Ideas and experience together to become scalable solutions for energy, habitat, water, food, creative reuse, infrastructure, transportation, communications, ecology, and all facets of living and experience that is Burning Man.

Burning Man Project Sustainability

The nonprofit Burning Man Project and the global Burning Man community are working to make the Burning Man event in Black Rock City more ecologically sustainable. This web page summarizes sustainability efforts.

Fossil fuels burning generators produce emissions including criteria air pollutants that harm human health and greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Burning gasoline and diesel fuels creates harmful by products like carbon monoxide that can cause serious injury and death to Black Rock City participants, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrocarbons, benzene, and formaldehyde - all direct human health hazards.

In addition, generators emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, and methane and nitrous oxide in lesser amounts. Global warming has caused the worldwide and regional climates to change resulting in potential adverse effects to the environment, human health, and safety.