Arizona Diamondbacks go solar at Chase Field

Chase Field, home of the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, will soon host the league’s newest solar array. The 75-kilowatt array will shade D-Back fans as they wait in line at the western ticket booth—much nicer than simmering in the desert sun in August waiting to get into the stadium.

Maricopa County Stadium District partnered with APS, the local utility, on the project. The project is being designed by HKS Inc. and built by Ironco division, Renewable Energy Contractors. The installation will include electric car-charging stations and battery storage, said APS spokesperson Dan Wolf.

The array, which is slated to for completion in May, allowing APS and the stadium to work out any kinks before the MLB All Star Game is held there in July 2011. It will provide 17,280 square feet of shading. APS is using the array as a technical demonstration.

In a press release, APS President Don Robinson, explained that “behind the scenes, this will be a working laboratory. We will study what’s possible with urban solar arrays and how we can power electric vehicles directly from the sun.”

Wolf said the car chargers would be for production model electric cars.

“Like those coming out from Nissan and the Chevy Volt. Standard production model electric car stations,” he said. “If you’re coming to the ball park and have an electric car, you can charge your car there. That’s the concept.”

The charging stations, Wolf said, are set up with meters and will allow the user to pay for the charge. But he said they’re still working out the details.

The D-Backs aren’t the first major league team to install solar at its home field. Other Stadiums, like Qwest Field, the Seattle Seahawks’ stadium and the Staples Center, home to the L.A. Kings, the L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers and the Los Angeles Sparks, are among others that have added solar.

Some of those teams have used the Solar Electric Energy for Your Stadium or Arena guidebook developed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). The largest to date is the 364-kW PV system installed at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

NRDC Senior Scientist Allen Hershkowitz said, “We are thrilled about the Arizona Diamondbacks new solar project. NRDC has had collaborative discussions with Team President Ken Hendricks in the past, and the solar guide created in partnership with BEF has certainly helped to elevate awareness and acceptance of solar in professional sports stadiums across the country.”

Pictured: A mock-up of the solar array, courtesy of HKS Inc, which illustrates how important the shading feature of the installation is. Notice the man standing outside the shaded area. He has burnt to a crisp.