Even after the sun went down, its power kept the annual Gulfport Tangerine Blues Festival lit up Saturday night.
Two $100,000 portable solar panel units kept vendors fired up with electricity in the first test in the Tampa Bay area of the products from California-based D.C. Solar Solutions.
"The solar took care of all the vendors," said Walter Dill, the secretary of the 49th Street South Business Association, which puts on the festival with the cities of Gulfport and St. Petersburg. "We didn't have any problems."
Rain threatened to dampen the solar power generation, but the downpours stayed east of the festival, as more than 5,000 people listened and danced to the sounds of The Legendary J.C.'s and headliner Albert Castiglia. The St. Petersburg Times previewed the use of the solar units before the festival began.
"God likes solar," quipped Mario Farios, who is one of the Tampa Bay businessmen working to open a manufacturing operation of the portable units to St. Petersburg.
One of the two solar units will remain in the Tampa Bay area, while the other moved to Daytona to showcase the technology and power another festival.
The units were offered free for the festival to promote the product, so Gulfport saved on the cost of electricity for vendors. The stage was powered by electricity from the normal power grid.