Arizona baseball fans get power, shade from desert sun

February 17, 2011

Arizona Public Service is giving fans of the Arizona Diamondbacks and green energy advocates something to cheer about.

APS plans to build a structure at the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field in Phoenix, the sunniest major city in America, which will do double duty by providing fans waiting in line with much needed shade and generate 75 kilowatts of solar power.

The power will go back into the grid as well as into a test battery storage system onsite which will provide power to electric vehicle charging stations.

The structure is no small, flimsy canopy. According to artist renderings the large rectangular structure will cover 17,280 square feet of an open plaza near the ballpark’s western entrances and ticket area.

Arizona Diamondbacks fans cheer while their team plays the Colorado Rockies in Game 1 of Major League Baseball's NLCS playoff series in Phoenix, October 11, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Arizona Diamondbacks fans cheer in Phoenix, October 11, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The facility will also act as a “working laboratory and green energy classroom”, says APS spokesman Dan Wool, providing a unique opportunity for baseball fans from around the state to learn about renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and recycling and how they can save energy and money.

Some might scoff at the facility’s cost of approximately $1 million, but when you consider the public education value the structure will provide it could be seen as a huge bargain for APS, the state’s largest electricity utility.

In a state like Arizona, with more than 300 days of sunshine every year and large tracts of open, flat land, solar energy will play an increasingly important role.

“The energy future for Arizona is going to be powered by renewable energy and energy efficiency and we will be relying on customers to help save energy”, says Wool of the project, announced last week.

APS, which is a major sponsor of the team, plans to use the structure as a technical demonstration project over its 20-year lifespan. The solar facility will be completed by May, which means it will be ready for when Chase Field hosts baseball’s biggest summer event, the All-Star Game in July.

This is the second APS renewable energy partnership with an Arizona sports team. In 2008 APS and the Phoenix Suns announced a plan to install solar panels on the roof of the Suns’ US Airways Center parking garage. That project is expected to be completed later this summer.

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the diamond backs don’t look very good this year. not worth the drive from flagstaff to catch a game. I miss dorados baseball. Jeff Larish was a beast!

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