Summertime Rock Goes Solar Germany Style

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Visitors find Medusa, Mosquito, Mad Max, Gemini and the Big Wheel awe inspiring enough during the day. Like sleeping prehistoric giants, stretched out for up to 130 meters, these iron skeletons sit around the Ferropolis Arena, a modern amphitheatre with lake views. On some summer nights, however, these silent watchmen come to life. As 20,000 people take to the stands to enjoy live music from stars such as Metallica, Oasis, Pulp, Die Toten Hosen, Björk and Peter Maffay, the stage is illuminated by over 300 spotlights that are positioned on the five former mining excavators. In the orbiting laser projections, the giants seem to dance.

Approximately 80,000 kilowatt hours of electricity are consumer during the Melt! Festivals which have been taking place regularly since 1999 in the city of iron near Gräfenhainichen in the east of Saxony-Anhalt: three days of electronic and rock music. “It’s true – we recklessly waste energy here,” explains Director of Ferropolis, Thies Schröder – but he doesn’t have a bad conscience about it. This is because ever since last year the industrial monument – which is situated on a mining headland that still contains brown coal – has been collecting solar energy with approximately 2,000 thin film solar modules positioned over four roofs, with a total output of 210 kilowatt-peak. Schröder has worked out that the 170,000 kilowatt hours of energy produced each year are enough to power two festivals.