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.