The San Francisco 49ers suffered an unfortunate end to the 2012-2013 season, narrowly losing the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens. But as the 49ers pick their heads up and revamp for the future, they can look forward to an amazing new stadium that utilizes solar power to make it one of the most energy efficient in the world.
The 49ers have announced that industry-leading SunPower will be the exclusive partner in providing solar power to the new 49ers stadium located in Santa Clara. The new stadium will feature a number of state-of-the-art solar elements, including three SunPower array-covered bridges connecting the stadium with the parking area, a SunPower canopy above the roof of the luxury suites, and SunPower panels over the 49ers training center. The SunPower solar bridges at the new 49ers stadium will be the first in the NFL. This creation is indicative of the continuing innovation for solar installations in sports stadiums.
The SunPower arrays will have a total capacity of about 400kW and will provide enough power per year to offset the stadium’s entire power usage for 49ers home games. With these SunPower installations, the new 49ers facility will become the first professional football stadium with LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental design). The stadium will also be the first professional sports venue in California to achieve a net zero energy performance.
President and CEO of SunPower, Tom Werner spoke about how the new solar installations were mutually beneficial for all parties. "SunPower is excited to have the opportunity to help power the new stadium with clean, reliable solar power, and to join the 49ers in a commitment to top performance, whether it is on the football field or in the solar market," Werner is quoted on newsantaclarastadium.com. In addition, the solar panels will save the 49ers money in electricity costs and also help protect them against blackouts like the one experienced in New Orleans during the Super Bowl.
The 49ers’ SunPower panels, which will be installed later this year, are representative of the current and future trends of stadium design—energy efficiency. The San Francisco 49ers join the New England Patriots, NY Giants, Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, and others as NFL franchises implementing solar panels in their stadiums.
The Santa Clara stadium will not only be the new home to the San Francisco 49ers, but it will also serve as one of the world’s best outdoor sports and entertainment venues. Upon completion, the new stadium will be a multi-purpose facility with the flexibility to host a wide range of events, including soccer, college football, motocross, concerts and various civic events. In addition, the stadium will be expandable for hosting major events such as the Super Bowl.
The entire venue will cost a total of $1.2 billion, will occupy 1.85 million square feet, and have a capacity of 68,500 (including about 165 luxury suites and 9,000 club seats). The stadium’s solar panels will help to drastically reduce energy costs compared to conventional grid power while also reducing the stadium’s overall carbon footprint.