Pocono Raceway is getting ready to ‘Go Green’ by installing a three megawatt solar farm which will power all the track’s energy needs and support the local energy grid. A groundbreaking ceremony, conducted July 31, was held before a media corps covering the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 race weekend activities at Pocono Raceway.
Working in conjunction with enXco, an EDF EN Company, and Evolution Energies the new Pocono Raceway Solar Farm will be constructed along Long Pond Road. The project is a 3.0 MW photovoltaic array on approximately 25 acres and will consist of nearly 40,000 photovoltaic modules. The Solar Farm is being constructed on land that used to be parking lots that are no longer used due to a reconfiguration of other parking lots on Raceway property. The project is set to be completed by the spring of 2010.
“We are excited by the opportunity to partner with Pocono Raceway whose foresight to engage in the development of the world’s largest sports facility solar system is to be recognized and applauded,” said Tristan Grimbert, President & CEO of enXco.
“We are very proud to work with Pocono Raceway on the development of the three megawatt solar project.” said Christopher Moffatt, co-founder of Evolution Energies. “The Solar Farm is an important step in developing renewable energy sources not only for the local Pocono community, but for Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States.”
“Pocono Raceway’s solar energy project is the biggest renewable energy stadium project in the world by more than two times,” said Dr. Mike Lynch, Managing Director of Green Innovation at NASCAR. “It’s going to be an awesome achievement, setting a high bar for all facilities throughout sports.”
The new solar panel system will become the primary electric energy source for the race track and will also benefit the local power grid. With the deregulation of Pennsylvania’s electric utility laws allowing more flexibility on power purchases, the track found there is no better time to upgrade their facility.
Brandon Igdalsky, Track President said, “This new system will not only satisfy the Raceway’s energy needs, it will allow us to help power close to one thousand homes and lower carbon dioxide emissions by 5,100 tons every year.”
During the recent push to find alternative energy sources, the benefits of having solar power have been tested and proven time and again. It is virtually silent, produces zero emissions, and is the most readily available energy source on Earth.
Igdalsky said, “Being in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, we felt that we needed to help preserve it and this was one way that we could do it, while helping the community around us.”
The Pocono Raceway solar installation is unique in that it will be the only sports facility in the world to generate clean renewable energy on site which will more than offset its annual electricity consumption. This will in effect make the track the first truly “green” sports facility in the world. While some arenas have been certified as “green” buildings under LEED standards, they have received that distinction through reduced water usage, recycling efforts, installation of compact fluorescent lighting, or usage of recycled products. Other sports teams have hosted “carbon neutral” games, but these are one time events, not a reflection of the facility.
Read Large-Scale Solar Power Systems: Construction and Economics from Amazon.