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Moving toward a brighter future: Lee Vining begins construction of Pioneer Solar Pavilion

July 5th, 2018 by Max, Mono Lake Intern
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Exciting times are shining on Lee Vining early this summer with the groundbreaking of the Pioneer Solar Pavilion at Hess Park. The pavilion will provide protection from the harsh Eastern Sierra sun and wind, while providing solar power and free wi-fi, as well as a space for outdoor events. Visitors to the pavilion will find a unique blend of past and future, with panels detailing historically significant Mono Basin pioneer families juxtaposed against modern solar panels generating power for Mono County, which will own and maintain the pavilion.

A volunteer posing with the fresh dirt of the pavilion’s groundbreaking. Photo courtesy of Janet Carle.

As well as providing shelter, educating visitors will be a main function of the pavilion. Interpretive panels on a variety of topics such as renewable energy, the Mono Basin pioneer families, Mono Lake, and upcoming events near Lee Vining will be a part of the structure. Additionally, a monitor will show real-time data of the energy being generated by the rooftop panels and the reduction of carbon emissions achieved.

A preview of the finished Pioneer Solar Pavilion. Photo courtesy of Nathan Taylor.

The Pioneer Solar Pavilion is a project of local climate action group 350 MONO, who are dedicated to harnessing renewable energy to lower global carbon concentrations to a sustainable 350 parts per million. Mono County, the Mono Basin Historical Society, the Mono Lake Committee, the Lee Vining Chamber of Commerce, and the community of Lee Vining have made significant contributions to the pavilion as well. In the words of organizer Janet Carle, “it truly takes a village to build a solar pavilion.”

While ground has been broken for the pavilion, the fundraising goal for completion is still roughly $8,000 from being met. For those who are interested in helping 350 MONO reach the pavilion’s fundraising goal, you can make checks out to the Lee Vining Chamber of Commerce with “solar pavilion” in the subject line and send them to PO Box 39, Lee Vining, CA 93541. If financial contributions are not possible for you but you’re interested in donating your time to help in construction, volunteers will be needed and welcomed for the next several weeks. For any questions or to find out how to volunteer with the Pioneer Solar Pavilion or 350 MONO, contact Janet Carle by email or at (760) 709-1162.