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New NFL stadium to incorporate innovative solar technologies

26th Feb 2013

Here is a riddle for fellow solar power converts: what is hugely popular in one part of the world and not so much in others, requires a helmet and heavy padding to take part in, and is soon to be solar powered?

If you answered American football, give yourself a pat on the back!

Though quarterbacks won't soon be donning photovoltaic padding, it was recently announced that a new stadium for one of the most iconic American football teams will incorporate several innovative solar technologies.

The Santa Clara Stadium, soon to be home to the San Francisco 49ers, is to become a world class sustainable structure thanks to a partnership between the team, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority and NRG Energy.

Several state of the art solar elements feature as part of the stadium's design.

These include three solar array-covered bridges which will connect the parking area to the stadium, a solar canopy above the green roof on the tower portion of the structure, and solar panels on top of the 49ers' training centre.

All in all, the stadium will have a total peak capacity of 400 kW. That's enough to offset all of the electricity consumed at the stadium during a year's worth of 49ers home games.

Chief executive officer of the San Francisco 49ers Jed York said that the idea with the new stadium was to build something which embodies the uniqueness of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

He said that the partnership with NRG Energy was the key to making that goal a reality.

"NRG is much more than a founding partner, they are providing the energy leadership, infrastructure and expertise to help us achieve the vision of making the new Santa Clara Stadium an economically and environmentally sustainable showcase for innovation," said Mr York in a statement.

NRG's president and chief executive officer, David Crane, said the energy company was honoured to support the 49ers in the "critically important arena of clean and sustainable energy".

Here in Australia we are no slouches when it comes to solar stadiums.

The photovoltaic system on the roof of the Townsville RSL Stadium in north Queensland supplies two-thirds of the stadium's energy requirements.

The Carrara football stadium on the Gold Coast, on the other hand, boasts glass-glass solar modules which are integrated into its roof, and which provide 20 per cent of forecast annual consumption.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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