Solar Hoops: Phoenix Suns Seeking Solar Power

Basketball’s Phoenix Suns are living up to their name — the Suns, Arizona utility APS and the City of Phoenix say they are planning to install a solar power system at the team’s home stadium, US Airways Center. Construction is set to begin next spring, with the installation planned for the fifth floor of the parking garage. The system is just 194 kW and 18,000 square feet but the group says it will displace some 440,000 pounds of CO2 per year or “26 Phoenix Suns home games.” (For comparison, Google’s solar rooftop is over 1 MW, BT’s rooftop system is 500 kW, and the San Francisco’s Giants have a 120 kW system).

The Suns can thank Bay Area solar startups for the planned design, construction and financing. San Rafael, Calif.-based EI Solutions, which is backed by Bill Gross’ Idealab and installed the Google solar system, will design and install the project. San Mateo, Calif.-based Tioga Energy, which has raised at least $14 million from Nth Power, NGEN Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, RockPort Capital, DFJ Frontier and Kirlan Ventures, will finance the deal. The project will use Chinese manufacturer Suntech’s panels.

Slapping solar panels on sports stadiums has been a growing trend over the last few years — particularly in baseball. The Boston Red Sox unveiled 28 solar hot-water panels on the roof at Fenway Park, the Colorado Rockies are using an array of 46 panels to power their Coors Field LED scoreboard, and the San Francisco Giants have one of Major League Baseball’s larger photovoltaic arrays at 120 kW.

Image is an artist rendering courtesy of EI Solutions.


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