When the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off tomorrow in Brazil, throngs of sports fans will be jockeying for position in front of televisions, at tournament parties and inside the 12 host stadiums. The world will be fixated on the biggest names in soccer, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar, while U.S. fans hope their squad finds a way to advance past what’s been dubbed the “Group of Death.”
The World Cup is the largest single-event sporting competition on the planet. But as the teams take the field, solar energy will step onto what may very well be its most prominent stage ever.
For the first time, the final match of the FIFA World Cup will be powered by solar energy. In fact, Yingli Solar, the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, has equipped two of the host stadiums – Arena Pernambuco and the Estádio do Maracanã – with a combined 5,150 high-efficiency solar panels.
Sounds impressive, right? Take the following stats (provided by FIFA) into account and it becomes even more remarkable:
Estádio do Maracanã
- More than 1,500 solar panels
- The solar power generated (550MWh) could power 240 average Brazilian homes annually
- Potential to offset 350 tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of planting 14,000 trees
- More than 3,650 solar panels
- The solar power generated (1,500 MWh) could power 600 average Brazilian homes annually
- Potential to offset 800 tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of planting 35,000 trees
Environmental sustainability measures are being incorporated into the design of an increasing number of stadiums around the world. Kaohsiung National Stadium in Taiwan, nicknamed The Dragon, was the first arena powered 100 percent by solar energy. The 55,000-seat stadium was constructed in 2009 and features 8,844 solar collectors.
Prior to the solar installations in Brazil, Yingli Solar and FIFA helped bring solar power to 20 Football For Hope Centres in Africa. Other stadiums to be utilized during the 2014 FIFA World Cup feature a variety of sustainability measures, including lighting efficiency, waste recycling programs and high-efficiency water systems. In the U.S., Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, was recently upgraded with 11,000 solar panels and 14 micro-wind turbines.
What does the incorporation of solar-powered stadiums into the 2014 FIFA World Cup mean for the future of solar energy? What’s the most impressive example of renewable energy you’ve ever witnessed in person? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet your responses using the hashtag #mcgblog.