Teams around the country are beginning to turn an eye to solar energy, including the NBA's Phoenix Suns and the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, which are both including solar installations at their stadiums. The latest stadium to make solar energy improvements is Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL's New England Patriots.
NRG Energy and The Kraft Group recently began construction of a futuristic solar canopy, which is part of a 1-megawatt solar installation at Patriot Place that will be completed by the start of the 2012-13 pro football season.
The canopy is being built to generate clean and renewable energy while also providing an escape from the sun for visitors to the shopping, retail and dining destinations in the area. The solar canopy will cover the outdoor walkways with a mix of standard and translucent solar panels. The standard rooftop solar panels will provide additional power and bring the expected annual output of the solar power system to 1.1 million kilowatts, which is the equivalent of providing energy for an average household for almost 100 years.
After the canopy is completed, 60 percent of Patriot Place's electricity use will be provided by solar energy, which will reduce the facility's carbon emissions by more than 800 metric tons annually or be the equivalent to removing an estimated 575 cars from the roads.
NRG is a Fortune 500 company and a pioneer in developing cleaner and smarter energy choices for customers. The company has become one of the largest solar power developers in the country and built the first privately funded electric vehicle charging facility.
Patriot Place is a shopping, dining and entertainment facility that is located adjacent to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The facility features large and boutique retailers, a four-star Renaissance Hotel & Spa and a Brigham & Women's/Mass General Health Care Facility.
Gillette Stadium is also home to the MLS' New England Revolution. NRG and The Kraft Group announced in December 2011 a comprehensive sustainable energy supply agreement for the stadium and shopping facility. NRG is also planning to provide all the additional non-solar power for the stadium, which seats close to 70,000.
NRG already owns and operates 450 megawatts of wind power and is the largest solar developer in the United States, totaling more than 900 megawatts of solar generation in operation.
MetLife Stadium in New Jersey also recently installed a rooftop solar ring around the top of the stadium that will generate 25 times the amount of electricity needed to power the stadium's LED lighting and display system.