This year the battle on the gridiron will be decided by two teams that have gone solar on their their respective stadiums. This spurred the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to attempt to dub it the “Solar Super Bowl” though neither Seattle or Foxborough, Mass. are known for their sunny days. Together the Patriots and Seahawks, have a combined solar capacity of 1,800 kilowatts (kW) at Gillette Stadium and CenturyLink Field.
“Since the construction of Gillette Stadium, we have focused on long-term sustainability and energy efficiency,” said Jim Nolan, New England Patriots senior vice president of operations, finance and administration. “We are proud of our renewable energy efforts and happy to see so many other sports franchises taking similar steps to collectively reduce our environmental impact.”
Just ahead of the Super Bowl SEIA also introduced a new analysis looking at how many sports venues have gone solar. The organization found that 25 stadiums, arenas and raceways in 12 states now host solar panels. The stadiums and arenas are home to a total of 27 teams. Even now two more stadiums are undergoing their solar makeovers, too.
It’s likely more will go solar soon, too. For instance in the waning hours of 2013 the NHL announced a partnership with Constellation Energy to source all of the electricity it uses from clean energy sources. At the time the hockey league cited climate change as one of the factors for its interest in using clean energy.
“More and more sports teams and organizations are making significant investments in solar energy because it makes senses – from both an economic and environmental standpoint,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “On behalf of the 174,000 workers in our industry, we’re extremely proud that solar energy has helped to ‘light up the scoreboard’ this season for both the Patriots and Seahawks on their march to the Super Bowl.” He added that SEIA anticipates the amount of solar at sports venues will double in the near future.
The organization also noted that previous championships have also been duked out by solar-powered teams, like last year’s World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals and the 2013 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals.
Solar on highly attended sports venues isn’t just good for the teams. It’s also a great way to show fans how solar energy works. Last year nearly 30 million sports fans attended events across the U.S. at facilities powered by the sun, SEIA said.
Last year the largest solar system in professional sports came online, too. That’s the 9 megawatt solar array at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was founded as a proving ground for new automotive technology over a century ago. Today, as we prepare for the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500, we continue to be leader in testing technology and human ingenuity and we are excited that we have been able apply that spirit beyond the race track through our solar project,” said Doug Boles, president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Tweet