Sports stadiums world-wide put players in a renewable spotlight


Many industries worldwide are paying more attention to their energy supply, moving slowly but surely down renewable avenues. One industry some may be surprised to find investing in the green energy sector is the multi-billion sports industry. Over the last couple of months, more and more sports companies have announced the use of renewable, and in particular solar PV, installations. Among the most recent to announce these initiatives are the UK’s Sheffield Wednesday, Barcelona’s RCD Espanyol football club and Italy’s Bentegodi Stadium in Verona.

Sheffield Wednesday, the second tier English football club, have announced plans to upgrade their Hillsborough Stadium, with a view to being considered as a potential host venue should England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup be successful. The proposals have been sent to Sheffield City Council for approval and will cost around UK£22 million. Changes include plans to turn the stadium into a ‘green stadium’, through “rainwater harvesting and solar cell technology”.

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The UK£22 million cost of the project will be covered by the club’s existing business plan, with funding to come from “a combination of increased club revenue streams and government grants.” The initial part of the project, required to meet Fifa’s requirements for a World Cup venue, will cost UK£9.8 million. Presumably, this decision was made in light of the announcement from the UK government on the “clean energy cash-back” scheme, which creates an incentive for solar installations in the country.

Barcelona’s RCD Espanyol football club, which hosted the first game in its new, 40,000-seater purpose-built stadium in Cornellà-El Prat on August 2nd 2009, has also incorporated solar PV installations into the new-build. Trina Solar supplied the club with 500KW of PV modules for a construction of a rooftop PV installation in the new Stadium. Further to this, Trina Solar will be the official sponsor of the rear part of the T-shirt of the football team for three football seasons.

The Bentegodi Stadium in Verona is the latest to announce the use of PV in its stadium. The juwi Group is building a 1MW PV plant on the roof of the stadium, which will generate around one million kW/h of CO2-free electricity, corresponding to the annual demand of at least 300 households.

The PV plant at the soccer stadium is to be connected to the grid yet this year and is already the second large-scale project for the Italian juwi subsidiary juwi Energie Rinnovabili Srl in Verona.

It seems as though these announcements are the first in a long-line of expected solar installations at sports facilities. PV-tech has made an attempt to find out more about these plans, yet so far the world of sports seems to be holding its tongue on this matter.

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