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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) 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 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 400metre2 of viable roof space on club facilities that is not yet being used to create clean solar power.

Biggest solar opportunities

  • AFL: Metricon Stadium (Carrara), home of the Gold Coast Suns, has 1647 kilowatts of clean energy potential.
  • Cricket: The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) has 1004 kilowatts of clean energy potential (pictured above)
  • Football: The Darwin headquarters of Football NT has 406 kilowatts of clean solar potential.


  • North Melbourne, St Kilda and Richmond AFL clubs have all installed substantial 100-kilowatt solar energy systems.
  • The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) has installed a 99-kilowatt solar energy system to power its water recycling facility.
  • Richmond Football Club is the first AFL club to join the United Nation’s Sports for Climate Action Initiative.

Australian Conservation Foundation 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 footballer 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.

Rooftop solar potential for AFL

Rooftop solar potential for Australian cricket 

Rooftop solar potential for Australian soccer 

Powering a sporting nation: Summary report

Image top: Powering a sporting nation: Summary report; IImage centre: Sydney Cricket Ground now (inset) and with a potential 1,004 kW PV array courtesy Image above: Rooftop solar potential for Australian football 

Related Articles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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