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Research shows role of sports stadia solar rooftops in mitigating impacts of climate change

Research shows role of sports stadia solar rooftops in mitigating impacts of climate change
April 27, 2021

Research conducted by the University of New South Wales School's Photovoltaic & Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) and the Australian PV Institute (APVI) ), on behalf of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), shows there is a lead role for AFL, cricket and football clubs, associations and national governing organisations to play in mitigating the impacts of climate change in Australia.

Together, the rooftops of AFL clubs, national and state football federations and administrative facilities, and the major cricket stadium in each state could host more than 77,000 metre² of solar panels, generating more than 20,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy annually - or enough to power around 2,900 households.

The Powering a Sporting Nation report and related papers research found the installation of solar panels on major stadiums and headquarters would create jobs and prevent 310,000 tonnes of climate pollution over two decades.

In the long term, by going solar these sports could save a combined total of approximately $3.7million annually.

Going solar is good for regional and community clubs too, with a high-level assessment of regional and community clubs across the three sports suggesting there may be 400 metre² of viable roof space on club facilities that is not yet being used to create clean solar power.

In terms of solar opportunities, the report suggests that the Sydney Cricket Ground (pictured above) has 1004 kilowatts of clean energy potential and the Darwin headquarters of Football NT has 406 kilowatts of clean solar potential.

The report also identified Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast as having solar generation opportunies (see Editor's note below).

Among best practice examples, North Melbourne Football Club is a leader in clean power generation, with its Arden Street headquarters and adjoining North Melbourne Recreation Centre powered by solar as a result of an investment by the City of Melbourne, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Kangaroos.

The 800 panel, 200kW system was the biggest in the City of Melbourne when installed in 2016 and has helped reduce the club’s reliance on grid-supplied power by 22%.

This installation followed Richmond Football Club’s installation of a 100kW solar system during the redevelopment of its Punt Road Oval home in 2014 - and it more recently becoming the first AFL club to join the United Nation’s Sports for Climate Action Initiative.

Similar sized systems have also been installed at St Kilda FC's RSEA Park while the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) uses its system to power its water recycling facility.

ACF Campaigns Director Paul Sinclair notes “from the biggest stadium to the smallest clubrooms, Australian sports can work together to become powered by 100% clean energy.

“To become pollution free in the next decade, Australians need to work together and get on with the job of making our country a clean energy superpower.

“That includes making Australia’s stadiums and clubrooms renewable-powered and energy efficient.

“The solutions to do this are available right here, right now. Moving to clean energy creates jobs, cuts energy costs and gives Australian rivers, forests and wildlife a chance to thrive.

“Sports in Australia face a growing threat from climate change. Driven mainly by burning fossil fuels like coal and gas, global warming is drying out sports grounds, disrupting events and increasing health risks for players.

“The costs of missing the opportunities before us are huge. More catastrophic bushfires and weather events will destroy homes of people and wildlife.

“Extreme and deadly heatwaves will threaten the lives of Australians, including sportspeople and fans at elite and community levels.

“At its best Australian sport brings people together to achieve great things. Now is one of those moments when Australia needs its sportspeople and fans to play like a great team.

“We believe Australian sports can be powered by 100% clean energy by 2030.”

Collingwood AFL star Jordan Roughead is concerned about climate change and advises “we have seen the impact global warming is having on sport, particularly over the last few years. The science says if we don’t change the way we’re living now, future generations are going to suffer.

“If we can work as a team and work towards a common goal to protect our climate and our environment, our impact will be significant.”

ACF has contracted the Australian Energy Foundation to offer 75 free energy consultations for sports clubs so they can work out a business case for going solar. Sporting organisations can make an expression of interest via the Australian Energy Foundation's website.

Editor's note, Metricon Stadium’s ‘solar halo’ - 2nd May 2021
While the Powering a Sporting Nation report suggests potential for solar power generation at Metricon Stadium, its 2011 redevelopment saw the installation of what was then Australia’s largest Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) system with 600 custom made solar panels from Netherlands-based Scheuten Solar integrated into the roof of the structure.

Images: Powering a sporting nation: Summary report (top), Sydney Cricket Ground now (inset) and with a potential 1,004 kW PV array courtesy acf.org.au/solar_potential_for_australian_cricket (middle) and rooftop solar potential for football (below).

Related Articles

25th February 2021 - Climate Council releases new report on the affects of climate change on Australian Sport

25th January 2021 - Rooftop tour set to open at Perth’s Optus Stadium

26th October 2020 - Sports Environment Alliance to hold 2020 Summit in virtual format

9th September 2020 - Innovative virtual power plant a first for Melbourne Metro Council and Hobsons Bay

2nd August 2020 - Sentosa Golf Club first to join sign up to United Nations Sports for Climate Action Initiative

5th July 2020 - Former Socceroo pushes for 2023 Women’s World Cup to amplify climate change urgency

1st July 2020 - Cities of Sydney and Adelaide power aquatic centres and sports fields with 100% renewable energy

24th June 2020 - Solar panels installed on Aquamoves’ rooftops

30th April 2020 - Mornington Peninsula Council commits to expanded solar power system for Rosebud Aquatic Centre

19th March 2020 - Green Sports Alliance advocates for sport and sustainability

20th January 2020 - New report aims to prompt recognition of climate change threat to Australian Open

30th December 2019 - Research finds Australian cricket not ready for challenges of climate change

14th October 2019 - 200 solar panels installed on Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre rooftop

20th September 2019 - International sport bodies unite to combat climate change

10th September 2019 - New report highlights the impact of climate change on cricket

10th June 2019 - ICC Sydney recognised for championing sustainable practice

28th June 2019 - Marvel Stadium roof to remain closed for AFL games

24th February 2019 - Solar project to light the way in and around the MCG and Yarra Park

21st January 2019 - Sports Environment Alliance looks to improve facilities’ sustainability

3rd December 2018 - Largest solar array in metropolitan Melbourne to be installed at Melbourne Museum

28th January 2018 - 300 solar panels installed at Geelong’s Leisurelink Aquatic Centre

3rd January 2017 - Solar panelling on Brisbane venues could power 1200 homes

23rd December 2016 - High praise for Adelaide Oval RoofClimb

30th November 2016 - Cockburn ARC solar photovoltaic system will be Western Australia’s largest

1st February 2015 - Report suggests elite and grassroots sport at risk from climate change

11th July 2014 - Groundbreaking solar installation cools Singapore Sports Hub

30th April 2012 - Metricon Stadium named as a finalist in global stadium awards


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