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Pocono Raceway Claims Largest Solar-Powered Sports Stadium

NASCAR’s Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., is powering up it 3-megawatt (MW) ground-mount solar energy system. The 25-acre solar installation consists of nearly 40,000 photovoltaic modules that will produce more than 72 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy over the next 20 years.

The solar power system will provide the primary source of electricity for the racetrack, while adding power to the local power grid. It will offset more than 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually and will generate enough power to provide the electricity needs for more than 1,000 homes beyond the power requirements of the raceway.

The Pocono Raceway Solar Project, developed by enXco, is owned by Pocono Raceway, host of two annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series summer events. The installation, adjacent to the 2.5-mile race track, “is so large it’s visible from outer space,” says the raceway.

According to the most recent independent research conducted by Experian Simmons National Consumer Survey, three out of four NASCAR fans (77 percent) believe that everyone has a personal obligation to be environmentally responsible, compared to 75 percent of the overall U.S. population. Sixty-five percent say companies should help consumers become more environmentally responsible compared to 64 percent of the overall U.S. population.

The survey also finds that more than 80 percent of NASCAR fan households recycle, up 12 percent over the past five years, and about 40 percent of NASCAR fan households use energy-efficient light bulbs, more than double the amount five years ago.

Other ‘green’ arena projects in Pennsylvania include the Consol Energy Center, the new home of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The new arena sports energy-savings and water efficiency measures, and is trying to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s Gold LEED certification, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Jason Carmello, an architect with Populous, the Kansas City, Mo., firm that designed the Consol Energy Center, told the newspaper that the arena “will be among the most, if not the most, environmentally friendly arenas in the nation.”

During construction, contractors diverted 93.7 percent of the arena’s waste from landfills. They also used recycled building materials, sustainably harvested and processed wood, and materials that reflect rather than absorb sunlight to reduce heat absorption, according to the article.

Eighty percent of North American professional sports teams plan to increase their environmental sustainability programs, according to a survey of more than 50 pro teams by ProGreenSports.

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2 thoughts on “Pocono Raceway Claims Largest Solar-Powered Sports Stadium

  1. A little hook line and sinker GREENWASH. NASCAR green? lets add up the carbon footprint of autoracing!!! And then we have a LEED rated box funded by a coal company in Pittsburgh. The building does nothing innovative and raises the bar in conventional ways that will never equal the loss of the carbon footprint and embodied energy cause by tearing down the old arena. The greenest building is ALWAYS the one that already exists. This is hard for people to grasp…It will take decades for the new arena to surpass the old when you add embodied energy into the equation.

  2. “It will offset more than 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually” Please explain how this happens, does the power plant that burns fuel stop when the sun is out?
    Let’s look at the facts in this. The sun does not shine 24/7, so where does the power come from when the sun isn’t shining? Solar does not pervent poulition!
    For the same $16 million and using the 25 acres of land to grow sunflowers or rapeseeds they could have got a system that provided the same 3MW generating capacity, would run 24/7 (or close due to some maintenance time) produced no poulition, around 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year, and created more long term jobs.
    The 3MW generating equipment would cost $6 million leaving $10 million to build the fuel production facility and farm equipment.
    I beg everyone to stop encouraging and promoting solar power it cost too much and it doesn’t solve the poulition problem, or the bigger problem of this country exporting large amounts of $ for a product we can produce here thus keeping all the $ here at home.
    My e-mail is tdamericap@gmail.com for those who are considering solar but want better for less $.

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