Now when the sun goes down, La Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (“La Liga”), a Costa Rican club football team, can still play under a sun-lit field. A field lit by solar power, to be exact. The club team’s stadium now meets 100% of its energy demand with a Yingli Solar power system recently installed by our partner, Enertiva Energia Alternativa. What does this mean for sport culture in Costa Rica? It means that sports leaders are recognizing the savings that solar can provide, especially for stadiums and training facilities that have high electricity requirements to operate and to light the fields.
The rooftop project for this stadium, Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto, was commissioned and installed by Enertiva in May 2015. La Liga estimates that the 260 kW system will save the club eighty million colones (USD $148,000) in electricity costs each year. Completion of the project makes this stadium the first in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean to be powered by solar energy.
Will this establish a precedent for Costa Rica’s 12+ stadiums? The stadium, known as “La Catedral” or “The Cathedral,” gets its affectionate name from the fact that it is one of the oldest and largest stadiums in Costa Rica. An institution since 1919, the stadium is quickly approaching its 100th anniversary.
From the Maracanã Stadium’s 390 kW system in Brazil to the New York Jet’s 690 kW system in the United States, La Catedral is one of many sports facilities throughout the Americas switching to solar. For some, cost savings are the major incentive, and for others, a commitment to sustainability and a clean energy future is the driving motivator.
“With this initiative we aim to be environmentally responsible for the fans of the club and Costa Ricans in general,” commented Raul Pinto, President of La Liga. The club’s transition to alternative energy is an important contribution to the country’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2021.
Where do you think the future of clean energy and sports is headed? Which is your favorite solar-powered stadium? We’d like to hear from you in the comments below.