Black Bear Solar Institute’s first-ever crossing of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by a battery electric vehicle has been recorded for posterity in the archives of the Smithsonian Institute Museum of American History in Washington DC.  Photographs, video and mementos of this zero emission journey from Townsend, Tennessee to Cherokee, North Carolina are in the Smithsonian Archives and will be used in an upcoming display.



AmbassaDog Abby

is in the Smithsonian!

Black Bear Solar Institute in the Smithsonian


Bearden High!

Knoxville’s Bearden High School Champions


Black Bear Solar Institute completed a year-long sponsorship of Bearden High School’s Virtual Enterprise Class.  Bearden won first place in the Tennessee State Virtual Enterprise competition and went on to win eighth place in the National competition in New York City with their business venture which “virtually” took Bearden High off the grid with corporate-sponsored solar module installations.




The Teslas are Coming!


Black Bear Solar Institute is working with Tesla Motors’ Destination Charging Program to bring high-powered mile-a-minute free charging to locations throughout the Southeastern United States.  We’re actively working with Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to create the most Tesla-Friendly Vacation Destination in the World!




Nissan LEAFs on Display


Black Bear Solar Institute was the recipient of 13 new Production Test LEAFs from Nissan North America, including several 2013 models which were among the first produced right here in Tennessee at the Nissan factory in Smyrna.  Two of these have been placed on display at the California Auto Museum and Sacramento Municipal Utility District E-House.  The rest will be moving out to various science, energy and children’s museums across the country.

Wildlife Educational Center Operation Grant from

The Bailey Wildlife Foundation


A very special Thank You goes out from Black Bear Solar Institute to

The Bailey Wildlife Foundation, which presented us with a very generous grant to cover all operating costs for our Wildlife Education Outreach for their second consecutive year. 


The Bailey Wildlife Foundation was started by Harold Harris Bailey, who authored books on ornithology and The Birds of Virginia and Florida.  Mr. Bailey was very instrumental in the creation of the Everglades National Park in 1947.  The Bailey Wildlife Foundation has funded such major projects as Defenders of Wildlife Wolf and Grizzly Compensation Fund to pay ranchers for animals lost to predatation, and The Bailey Wildlife Foundation Proactive Carnivore Conservation Fund, to avoid potential human/wildlife conflict around Yellowstone and the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho.


You can learn more about the founder Harold Harris Bailey from his collection of works archived at Virginia Tech University on the link below: