If you like listening to good music and supporting sustainable energy at the same time, then you should tune in to solar powered K-TAOS on 101.9FM if you are anywhere near Taos, New Mexico, or digitally on the internet.
K-TAOS owner and afternoon presenter Brad Hockmeyer, founded the radio station in 1982. In 1991 Hockmeyer decided to power his radio-station’s transmitter by solar power. The station has recently up-rated its transmitter from 50,000 to 100,000 watts, transmitting from Picuris Peak at an elevation of 10,800 feet. K-TAOS is the only fully solar-powered radio station on the plant.
The radio station transmitter is powered by 140 polycrystalline, silicon photovoltaic panels. Each panel in the 2500 square foot (232 square meters) array generates 32 kilowatts per day. The solar energy is converted to direct current and stored in a 6000 amp-hour battery bank housed in a self sustaining ‘Earthship’ made of recycled dirt-filled tires, aluminium cans, bottles and cement. The Earthship was designed and built by Solar Survival Architecture and the Paradise Power Company designed and installed the renewable energy system
According to K-TAOS the solar system has worked flawlessly since Thanksgiving 1991. "It's about as maintenance free as you could possibly dream of, so it addresses some of our financial concerns,” says Hockmeyer, "…and because sunlight is a renewable, non-polluting energy source, it satisfies some of our environmental concerns."
K-TAOS supports solar power and sustainability in general. Broadcasting cool music powered by solar energy is one way to get the message out load and clear. K-TAOS also hosts a Taos Solar Music Festival in conjunction with the New Mexico Solar Energy Association as well as other renewable energy advocacy and education groups.
K-TAOS operate a mobile mini-radio station booth called the Solar Sleigh Ride which has photovoltaic panels to provide power, and a Solar Centre with a stage for 400 people so Solar Radio can put on shows rain or shine.
K-TAOS Radio Station: www.ktao.com