Appleton, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS)- More than 100,000 lights.  About 66,000 thousand of which are powered through renewable, solar energy.  That’s what’s happening in Appleton at the Fox Cities Festival of Lights. “We're probably the only big commercial display in the country that uses solar power to power it,” says Fox Cities Festival of Lights President Shaun Forslund.

It’s the first year for this free family event.  Anyone can walk through the roughly half-mile long lights display from 5pm to 9pm, until New Year’s Eve.

“It’s kind of neat to show the community and show the world what you can do with clean energy,” says Forslund.  “We wanted to have this lights display here, it worked out with the woods so it's like well, let's try something different powering it because you can't run chords 800 feet back.”

Forslund and his son built most of the display.  He says it took about a year and a half to plan.  He says Fox Cities Festival of Lights has about 25 sponsors, including Faith Technologies.  The national company’s expertise is in electrical planning, engineering, design and installation.

“Shaun had an area in the very back of the grounds that was very difficult to get power to and he came to us seeing if we could help him get some cables or wiring back there and we said ‘hey, we can do something better we can put a micro-grid in place for you,” says Steve Nieland, Director of Energy Solutions.

Faith Technologies is headquartered in Menasha and has various locations throughout Wisconsin.

“We’re able to put power in places where you couldn’t get power otherwise, which is one of the neat things we’re able to do here” says Nieland. 

The goal for 2020 is to have the display be 100% renewable.

“We’ve had two or three communities in Wisconsin reach out to us wanting to do something like this next year, La Crosse is one of them,” says Nieland.

This installation used in Appleton’s light display has been quite a few places around the country.

“The installation that’s here has been to Lifest this year, the same installation was at EAA, it went out to California to a conference there and then came back here so, it’s something we can move fairly easily,” says Nieland.

Shaun Forslund says his own experience with light displays were his true inspiration.

“I helped at Oshkosh Celebration of Life for about five years and ever since we bought a house, I’ve done our own light display.”

Donations are suggested upon entry, as they are given to 10 non-profits in the Appleton area.  The display is run by volunteers at Darboy Community Park.

“We plan on being here for a long time,” says Forslund.

He says about 18,000 people have visited the lights.