On September 9, 2009 the Estádio de Pituaçu in Salvador, achieved a notable first by playing host to its first international, a 2010 World Cup qualifier between Brazil and Chile. Nearly two years later it is set to achieve another first by becoming the first football stadium in Latin America to install solar panels.

Building the ground-breaking 403kWp rooftop array will be Gehrlicher Ecoluz Solar do Brasil, a joint venture between the German project developer Gehrlicher Solar and the Brazilian environmental technology group Ecoluz Participações. Gehrlicher was awarded the project after winning an international tender by the Brazilian utility Coelba, which is providing financial backing alongside the Bahia State government.

The array will be comprised of two separate module technologies. For the canopy covering the majority of the stadium’s 32,157 seats, 203kWp worth of Uni-Solar’s flexible thin-film modules will be installed, while 165kWp of Yingli’s monocrystalline modules are to adorn the changing room and parking lot roofs.

Construction work on the system is expected to begin in September, with grid connection scheduled for December. Part of the electricity generated by the system will be used to cater for the stadium’s energy requirements, with the remainder fed back into the regional grid.

The Estádio de Pituaçu project is the first of many PV installations planned for Brazil’s premier football arenas. “This contract is very important to us, in particular against the backdrop of plans for outfitting the 2014 soccer World Cup venues with solar power systems," Gehrlicher Ecoluz Solar do Brasil’s director, Ricardo da Silva David, said. Tenders for all 12 World Cup venues are currently in progress.