Last week, the major sports leagues: Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League—yeah all the big ones—issued a letter to teams urging them to use solar energy and other forms of clean energy as a means to help spread the word about renewables.
They’ve teamed with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to issue Solar Electric Energy for your Stadium or Arena, a guidebook to help stadium owners educate themselves about renewable energy and to help them develop a plan to go solar. And apparently stadium owners already are taking notice.
NRDC spokesperson Josh Mogerman explained that Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, has issued an RFP (request for proposal) to add significant solar power to its stadium, based on the guidebook. But Qwest field isn’t the first to consider solar for its stadium.
For instance, in 2007, Coors Field, home of the Rockies, installed a 10 kilowatt (kW) PV system to power a scoreboard on the field.
According to Independent Power Systems, the array “is the first commercial scale grid-tie PV system in any major league stadium.” It was designed to produce more energy than it uses.
MLB spokesperson, Sarah Leer said, “From a league perspective, we work to incorporate environmentally sensitive practices into the All-Star Game and World Series.” That includes purchasing renewable energy offsets for all the energy used at the inter-league games.
Mogerman said that other stadiums already have adopted solar, too. However, “there’s a fairly short list in terms of teams that have done it.” He noted that the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which is home to the Lakers, the Clippers, the Kings, and the Sparks, gets 5 percent of its power from photovoltaics.
The Staples Center system is a 364 kW PV array with 1,727 solar panels installed on its rooftop. The system was installed by Solar Panel Inc. in 2008, and it’s connected to a 166 kW system at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE.
Here’s a snapshot of other stadiums with PV:
• Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, installed a solar hot water system in 2008 that heats about 37 percent of all the water used at the park. According to a press release, “the 28 solar panels were installed from May 7 through May 12” and were operational within a week.
• Jacobs Field, home to the Cleveland Indians, installed an 8.4 kW PV array in June 2007. The array uses 42 GE solar panels. You can view real-time production information of the system here.
• The San Francisco Giants installed a 120 kW PV system at AT&T park, their home. The system was announced in March 2007 and provides power for PG&E customers in the City and County of San Francisco.
• The U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, home to the Suns and the Mercury, installed a 194 kW PV system on its garage roof in July 2009. The system has 1,100 panels.
“The embrace of solar power sends a strong message to millions of fans and event-goers throughout the country—and it could have a big impact on the teams’ bottom lines too,” NRDC said in a press release.