When Rio Tinto Stadium’s solar array is completed this fall the 2 megawatt system will provide 73 percent of the Major League Soccer teams Real Salt Lake and USL Real Monarchs power needs. That’s a larger share of power than any other stadium in the U.S.—and, indeed North America, is deriving from onsite solar power at this point—even though some other stadiums have bigger solar arrays.
“We are partnering with Auric Solar to increase our power efficiency while hosting more than 50 massive events each year in Sandy,” said RSL and Monarchs Owner Dell Loy Hansen. “The new solar covered parking structures will improve the quality of parking options for our 15,000+ season ticket holders and provide our state and the surrounding environment with the largest solar energy offset for any U.S. professional sports venue,” he said.
The solar power system will consist of multiple installations, according to the stadium. Auric Solar will install solar panels on existing parts of the stadium. It also will install the majority of it—94 percent—as solar carports, which will provide vehicles shade in the blistering summers of Utah.
“This project will put Real Salt Lake at the forefront of energy production in all of professional sports,” said Jess Phillips, principal of Auric Solar. “Auric Solar is helping the club harness the power of the sun to reduce its power consumption on a grand scale.”
Once completed the Rio Tinto Stadium will host the fourth-largest solar array at a professional sports stadium on the continent. The largest is the 9 megawatt system that was installed last year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, considering the sport and the size of the venue it provides a much smaller amount of the speedway’s energy needs. The home of Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field boasts the second largest, at 3 megawatts of solar —it’s essentially tied with the 3 megawatt array at the Pocono Raceway in Blakesdale, Penn. The Rio Tinto array, at 2.02 megawatts slightly bests the multiple arrays at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., home to the Washington NFL team.
Why does all that matter? Stadiums are some of the most visited places in the U.S. They’re a remarkable opportunity to show the public what solar power is capable of. They offer a chance for signage to show how much energy a system is producing as well as how much the venue is using.Tweet