This year isn’t just the golden anniversary of the Super Bowl, its 50th, it’s also going to be a solar, energy efficient spectacular. Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, is the first stadium in the NFL to open as a LEED Gold-certified building. That’s thanks, among other things, to its 375 kilowatt solar power array.
Completed in 2014, the stadium is one of the newest in the NFL. Since it’s a LEED Gold stadium, it’s designed to use much less energy than other stadiums. As such the 1,150 SunPower solar panels installed at the stadium actually produce enough energy throughout the year to power all of the San Francisco 49ers’ home games. The certification means the building is built sustainably and is highly energy-efficient.
“This year’s big game is making environmental history as fans root for their favorite team, playing in the NFL’s first LEED Gold certified stadium featuring SunPower high efficiency solar panels,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. “At SunPower, we’re proud to support our progressive commercial business partners that are making wise economic and environmental investments with solar.” The systems were installed by NRG, which put 544 panels on the stadium roof and another 642 panels on the footbridges connecting the main parking area to the stadium.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said that now nearly a third of the NFL’s teams use solar power at their stadiums or training facilities. Currently the Denver Broncos and the North Carolina Panthers don’t have solar at their stadiums.
"It's a movement across the country—become more sustainable,” said Al Guido, 49ers chief operating officer. “And stadiums have to do their part. But we wanted to be functionally green, not just green for green's sake."
SIEA added that more stadiums are going solar as well. The Baltimore Ravens recently signed a contract for solar power the Atlanta Falcons working on designing a solar system.
It’s not just football that’s going solar, either. Other sports teams and leagues are adding in solar and green energy. In fact, the biggest solar array in sports, a 9 megawatt system, is actually at the Indianapolis Speedway. And the NHL partnered with Constellation Energy to purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets of 550,000 metric tons in 2014-2015 to offset all of the hockey league’s energy usage.Tweet