Rio Tinto Stadium is now hosting the largest privately owned solar array in Utah, as the home of Real Salt Lake (RSL) and Real Monarchs (USL) sports a 2.02 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) system spread across several solar parking structures and rooftops.
The grid-connected installation was designed, engineered and constructed by Utah-based Auric Solar. The system is the largest solar array among MLS stadiums, and the fourth-largest overall among all major U.S. sports complexes. The Rio Tinto PV power plant will provide the largest energy offset—73 percent—of any professional sports venue in the country. The ambitious project was initiated in April 2015 and took six months to complete.
Nearly 95 percent of the solar array (made up of 6,423 solar panels) has been installed on new solar-covered parking structures, including an entirely new parking lot on the north side of the stadium. Covering the equivalent of 3.10 acres, the aggregation of the panels would cover 2.3 American football fields or 1.3 FIFA regulation soccer fields, extending 7.9 miles or 41,500 feet if stacked end-to-end.
“This project has positioned Real Salt Lake at the forefront of energy production and conservation in all of professional sports,” said Trent Vansice, Principal of Auric Solar. “Auric Solar is helping the club harness the power of the sun with a top-tier system built on time-tested, quality components that will power the lights high above the field for years to come.”
Auric Solar is the largest solar provider in Utah and Idaho and one of the fastest growing installers in the United States, with average year-over-year growth of 173 percent.
“Auric Solar’s expertise and innovation have made them the perfect partners to convert Rio Tinto Stadium toward energy self-sufficiency in the venue’s seventh year, while also improving our fan experience with the addition of covered and lit parking,” said Andrew Carroll, chief business officer for Real Salt Lake. “Our unique ability to assist Auric Solar in building brand awareness, both locally and across the industry, makes this partnership fully-integrated, mutually-beneficial, and uniquely symbiotic.”
“The impressive Rio Tinto Stadium installation marks the latest example of a major U.S. sports facility going solar to reduce energy consumption, save money and become more sustainable,” said Zony Chen, Vice President of Global Market Intelligence and U.S. Business Development of REC Group. “For such an important project, our partners Auric Solar and distributor Russell-Pacific chose REC panels for their industry-leading quality, reliability and performance.”
The environmental impact of the new Rio Tinto Stadium solar array carries the carbon-dioxide reduction equivalent of removing 450 cars from the road or planting 47,278 trees annually, while providing enough to power, light, and heat 284 homes for a calendar year.
Image courtesy REC Group.