Concert series promotes solar energy


Saturday’s benefit concert hopes to raise money to supply solar panels and other energy efficient upgrades to homes of low-income families

Matt Wickstrom

David Butler has been involved with Lexington’s music scene for decades, working as owner of music club The Wrocklage from 1988 to 1996 and performing in rock group Rebel Without A Cause.

Now the 1999 UK grad with a masters in geochemistry is spearheading a solar revolution across the Commonwealth with Solar Kentucky, a non-profit that seeks to finance solar panels and energy efficiency upgrades on Habitat for Humanity houses throughout the state.

The idea was sparked for Butler by his daughter, who just over a year ago asked him what he was going to do for his mid-life crisis. Soon thereafter Butler got the ball rolling on his movement, starting a renewable energy podcast titled Clean Power Planet.

“After I had the podcast going for about a year, a lady from the Kentucky Housing Corporation named Deanna McCord called and said she’d been listening to the show and wanted to help me,” Butler said. “Since their organization is state-wide (McCord) said we’d need to plan similar events across the state and not just in Lexington.”

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Solar Kentucky and Habitat for Humanity plan to team up for three more benefit shows in the future in Berea, Elizabethtown and Bowling Green, with another show taking place at Haymarket Whiskey Bar this Saturday in Louisville featuring Johnny Conqueroo, Voodoo Economics and Bendigo Fletcher. Lexington’s benefit will be held at The Burl on Saturday and will showcase the musical talents of Warren Byrom, Western Movies, SLO-FI and Frigidkitty.

Byrom will perform an intimate solo acoustic set to kickoff music at 8:30 p.m.. Western Movies and SLO-FI will follow, two local acts featuring both Byrom and Otto Helmuth formerly of early 90’s rockers The Blueberries. Rounding out the night will be the mountain pop melodies of Frigidkitty.

This weekend’s event coincides with The Kentucky Solar Energy Society’s Lexington Solar Tour, kicking off at 10 a.m. on Saturday at The Plantory at 501 W. Sixth St., Suite 250. Attendees can meet with UK’s solar car team and experts in solar energy and tour nearby solar installations to see how local residents and businesses are harnessing the sun’s energy to power their daily lives.

“Once we raise the money that’s when the really hard work starts, because the local Habitat for Humanity affiliates have to pick the homeowner and work with the installers to get to systems put up,” Butler said.

Butler and Solar Kentucky have set a lofty fundraising goal of $12,000 for each of their benefit shows, enabling the organization to put a three kilowatt system on one Habitat for Humanity home in each city they hold a concert.

Tickets for Saturday’s show at The Burl are $10. You must be 21 years or older to enter.