Monday, December 09, 2013 11:09 PM
Photo courtesy of NRG Energy. NRG Energy and the Washington Redskins opened the largest solar installation in the NFL at FedEx Field on Sept. 15, 2011.
Published on: Thursday, September 19, 2013
By Tracey Gold Bennett
It’s football season, and while a lot of attention is being paid to the game and controversy over the Redskins’ name, there is actually something green happening over at FedEx Field that is critical to the operations of the organization but may go virtually unnoticed.
The stadium is being powered by solar energy — 8,000 solar panels in the FedEx Field parking lot to be exact. The panels were installed in 2011 through a partnership with NRG Energy and Washington Redskins. It’s the largest solar installation in the National Football League.
The stadium’s power (100 percent of the power) on non-game days is generated by the solar panels that convert the sun’s rays into energy through photovoltaics, a technology that uses radiant energy to create voltage.
On game days, an estimated 20 percent of the power is generated through solar energy. In addition to providing nearly two megawatts of power, the panels also provide shade for 841 parked cars.
The partnership between the Washington Redskins and NRG Energy of Princeton, N.J., is the first of its kind and scope in the NFL. Electricity produced at the stadium now through solar power by three types of solar panels is enough to meet the power needs of 300 homes in the Washington, D.C, metropolitan area.
NRG worked with the Redskins to design, develop and install the solar power system to meet the stadium’s energy needs. During the unveiling of the project in 2011, David Crane, CEO of NRG, said the process went very quickly; more traditional kinds of energy would have taken longer he explained.
“Power plants take a very long time to build, some take five or six years,” Crane said. “We got together in March, signed an agreement in May and we’re standing here in early September. The speed of implementation (with alternative energy) is important.”
There is also good news for fans who drive hybrid cars. Charging stations for hybrids are available in the parking lot at FedEx Field.