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03/06/2012 03:43 PM     print story email story  

Football Team Takes Stadium Off the Grid, Thanks Philadelphia Eagles!

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In 2010, NFL's Philadelphia Eagles announced it would power its Lincoln Financial Field stadium with a combination of on-site wind, solar and dual-fuel generated electricity, making it the world's first major sports stadium to convert completey to on-site power.

That partnership, which focused on co-generation more than solar and wind, didn't turn out to be feasible because they'd be sending more energy to the grid than it could handle.

Today, they announced the utility, NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG),  will design, build and operate a combined solar panels and micro wind-turbine solution that will provide about six times the power used at the stadium each year (the excess goes to the grid). NRG will be the official supplier of grid power to Lincoln Financial Field and a major sponsor of the Eagles.

When construction is completed late this year, the stadium will have the largest solar system in the NFL and in the Philadelphia area, with more than 11,000 solar panels and 3.25 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity. Solar panels will be visible from the street and will be on the parking lot and the stadium.
14 micro wind-turbines will also be on top of the stadium.

"This commitment builds upon our comprehensive environmental sustainability program, which includes energy and water conservation, waste reduction, recycling, composting, toxic chemical avoidance and reforestation. It underscores our strong belief that environmentally sensitive policies are consistent with sound business practices," says Eagles CEO, Jeffrey Lurie. They also offer a selection of vegetarian food at the stadium.

"We believe the iconic stature and universal appeal of professional sports can become a powerful, visible, motivating example of how renewable energy sources can replace fossil fuels and create a cleaner, sustainable environment for people everywhere," says Eagles owner Christina Lurie.

NRG Energy, although still mostly involved with fossil fuels, has been actively growing in solar and wind. It says it has over 2000 MG of solar - Buffet's renewable energy arm recently bought a stake in its 290 MW Agua Caliente project in Arizona.

The Washington Redskins' FedEx Field now has a 2 (MW) solar system installed by NRG. About 8,000 solar panels cover the parking lot and are on the stadium.

NRG has a branded entrance at the stadium that educates fans about renewable energy and there are 10 electric vehicle charging stations from its eVgo charging network, one of the first privately funded EV charging networks in the US.

NRG is also the lead investor for the first phase of the visionary Project Amp, which is installing solar systems on industrial buildings across the US.

In 2010, the major professional sports leagues collectively began encouraging the use of renewables in arenas and stadiums across the US, and the Green Sports Alliance formed last year.

A coalition of 25 professional sports teams were among the first to join the Obama Administration's Better Buildings Challenge and a Texas football stadium is now LEED-Platinum.

Here's the Eagles Go Green website:

Website: www.philadelphiaeagles.com/community/gogreen.html



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