This year Super Bowl XLVIII is being called a lot of things, the Stoner Bowl, the Pot Bowl, the Marijuana Bowl, the Cheech and Chong Bowl, the Bong Bowl, the Green Bowl, etc. Largely because, you guessed it, the two teams the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks are from the two states that have legalized pot. But perhaps we should call it the Green Bowl for another reason, the teams are playing at the New York Jets’ and Giants’ MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, which is home to a 276 kilowatt solar array through a partnership with NRG Energy. Otherwise we could call it the Super Solar Bowl.
People are paying attention. For instance, the Energy Information Administration observed today (Jan. 31): “On February 2, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, will host Super Bowl XLVIII. During the game, aerial footage will likely show 916 external LED fixtures powered by 1,350 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels with a total generating capacity of 276 kilowatts (kW).”
“MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Jets and New York Giants, opened in 2010, and its PV installation was completed in August 2012,” EIA said. It added, “The total capacity of the PV installations is typically dwarfed by the energy needs of powering a football stadium during games and other events, but these onsite energy systems can help reduce the amount of electricity pulled from the local distribution grid.”
Still, MetLIfe isn’t the only stadium to go solar and it has nothing on the 1 megawatt system of arrays at the Washington Redskins’ FedEx Field and certainly not the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field, which—with NRG Energy—completed a 3 megawatt solar array in 2013. That stadium also has 14 wind micro-turbines onsite to generate power for the stadium as well—perhaps sometimes powered by fans doing “the wave” and clapping and hollering during games. In fact, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) did a case study on the stadium a few years back, observing then that: “The Eagles are installing 11,000 onsite solar panels and 14 onsite wind turbines to make Lincoln Financial Field the first professional stadium in the United States capable of generating all of its electricity onsite.”
That’s not the only reason to call it the Solar Super Bowl. Colorado is one of the nation’s biggest markets for solar and has recently led the nation in terms of solar jobs per capita. And CenturyLink Field, home to the Seattle Seahawks in Washington state is one of a handful of stadiums with a solar installation as well. In 2011 it got a 782 kilowatt PV array to provide energy for the stadium.
In that sense the Seahawks have one up on the Broncos since Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium doesn’t have it’s own solar array yet. But here’s hoping it gets one soon as well as another Super Bowl title—after all Solar Reviews is headquartered in Colorado!
Maybe NRDC will help the Bronc’s get more green, too. After all, the organization developed a guidebook a few years back to help stadiums go green with solar energy. Sporting venues are ideal locations to help popularize solar power. They’re highly visible spaces with a lot of space that could host PV and a number of stadiums have already taken advantage of the possibilities, including the Colorado Rockies home at Coors Field, which was one of the first stadiums to install solar, installing a 9.6 kilowatt array in 2007 to power an LED screen over its famous Rockpile section.