Solar in sports is becoming mainstream — as professional sports seek a competitive edge in sustainability.
According to a new study from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), total accumulative solar capacity in pro sports facilities hit 21.7 MW in 2014. That’s enough to power 3,000 US homes. SEIA’s study looked at 25 stadiums and arenas as well as 12 raceways.
Topping the solar list was Indianapolis Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500, with 9,000 kW of solar power capacity. Indianapolis Speedway has the largest sports solar farm in the world, enough to power 1,000 US homes. Second is a tie between Lincoln Financial Field (home of the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles) and Pocono Raceway, with 3,000 kW each. Fourth was the NFL’s Washington Redskins FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, with 2,000 kW of solar. Rounding out the top five is home for the NFL’s New England Patriots and Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts (1,000 kW).
Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, home of the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings plus the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, topped solar energy capacity for an NHL/NBA arena with 364 kW.
San Francisco Giants AT&T Park, with 120 kW, was Major League Baseball’s number one solar representative.
Overall, SEIA’s study into solar in professional sports facilities provides a fascinating correlation with what is going on in the rapid growth in overall solar markets.
Consider that, in 2007, the Colorado Rockies Coors Field was the first pro sports facility to install a solar power system (at just 9.9 kW). In just over 8 years, pro sports solar installations have grown 10 times over, with 123,000 panels installed across 37 US facilities.
Falling solar costs, along with increased risks from climate change, have been key drivers in helping professional sports facilities move towards solar energy. With more extreme weather events anticipated due to a changing climate, expect further renewable energy investments from pro sports leagues, especially as sports look to power the games we love to watch without wrecking the planet.