The nation’s most popular and influential sports leagues have teamedup to take on climate change by adopting solar energy at theirvenues and promoting awareness of the benefits of solar power.
The heads of five U.S. professional sports leagues — Major LeagueBaseball, the National Football League, the National BasketballAssociation, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer —distributed a Solar Electric Energy Guide for Stadiums and Arenas to all 140 teams in the five leagues combined. The guide was recentlypublished by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and theBonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF).
Solar panels line the outter walls of AT&T Park in San Francisco, California, home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants.
The guide goes into step-by-step detail onhow to go about installing solar energy systems at sporting venues. Itcovers everything from solar cost estimates and financing options, tohow to find and purchase panels. Also included is a discssion on therate of return and payback for solar power systems in the U.S. Not to be overlooked, the guide also offers information on how solar energysystems help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
NRDC Senior Scientist Allen Hershkowitz sees the backing of solarenergy by professional sports leagues as evidence of a broader trend inthe U.S. toward a mainstream renewable energy future:
“The distribution of solar powerdevelopment guides by all professional sports leagues reflects a realcultural shift in our thinking about energy that is taking placethroughout the business community and the nation at large.”
Even before the guide was distributed, some teams had already partnered with solar companies or installed solarenergy systems at their venues. In April of this year, for example, theNHL’s San Jose Sharks made Canadian Solar Inc. the official sponsor of their Stanley Cup playoff bid. In early August, the NFL’s New England Patriots installed a 525-kilowatt (kW) solar energy system at Patriot Place in Massachusetts, the team’s hall of fame.
Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington, home of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, is equipped with solar panels.
And the Staples Center in Los Angeles,California, home to three teams within the five leagues, has a 345.6-kWsolar energy system on its roof that, over the next 25 years, isexpected to eliminate over 10,000 tons of greenhouse gases.
Other teams that have integrated solar energy at their home stadiumsinclude MLB’s San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Boston RedSox and Washington Nationals, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns andDenver Nuggets, and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.