The NBA's Washington Wizards will play under the power of the sun on their home court at the Verizon Center next season. No, their arena won’t be missing a roof, but Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE), owner of the Verizon Center, signed an agreement WGL Energy for 4.7-million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually delivered from a 3.5 megawatt WGL solar farm in Fredrick County, MD. The partnership will allow the Verizon Center to get 25 percent of its energy from solar, meeting its pledge to the Green Sports Alliance.
The Green Sports Alliance is an international environmental advocacy consortium consisting of 500 sports teams, organized leagues and arenas from around the world. As members, the Verizon Center and MSE are dedicated to promoting energy sustainability and environmentalism at events it holds throughout the year.
“While arenas or ballparks often have obstacles for installing on-site energy sources due to limited space, offsite energy provides opportunities for teams across the country to benefit from renewable energy,” said Justin Zeulner, executive director at Green Sports Alliance. “Verizon Center and its teams are setting a prime example of promoting sustainable communities among their passionate fan base.”
In 2016 the Verizon Center hosted over 201 sporting events, concerts and conferences, emitting an estimated 3,123 tons of greenhouse gases, according to WGL. Using solar helps counter-balance its carbon emissions and reduces the arena’s annual operating costs.
“Sustainability is at the core of our operations across all of MSE,” said Dave Touhey, president of venues at MSE. “We are excited to expand our energy relationship with WGL Energy by entering into this new partnership to bring more renewable energy to Verizon Center.”
“Professional sports facilities, such as Verizon Center, consume incredible amounts of electricity, and switching to solar power can really reduce costs,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “This highly innovative project is part of a trend being led by major corporations, which see a significant return on their investment, while improving air quality in communities across America.”
Other arenas and stadiums across the US are also adopting solar power. The Golden 1 Center, home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, announced in October 2016 that it would be entirely powered by solar energy thanks to the installation of a massive 1.2-megawatt rooftop array. The arena will also purchase electricity from an offsite, 11-megawatt solar farm managed by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. In Salt Lake City, Vivint Solar partnered with the Utah Jazz to install a 700-kilowatt solar array on Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. That system will offset the equivalent of burning 1 million pounds of coal.Tweet