New Columbia Solar Puts ~$30K/Year on Scoreboard for D.C. United’s Audi Field
Meeting ‘Greener Goals’
As the famed club moved from its historic RFK Stadium to a new home in Southwest, D.C., it
became D.C. United’s mission to build an environmentally-friendly venue, one that could combat
high-energy consumption and rising utility costs. In keeping with D.C. United’s rating as a LEED
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) city, Audi Field’s design and construction
included a solar energy system and the district guaranteed D.C. United a $25M PACE (property
assessed clean energy) loan from EagleBank.
Giving SolarEdge the Ball
After a competitive bidding process, D.C. United chose leading local installer, New Columbia Solar, to design, build, own and operate a 627.8 kW-sized canopy and rooftop PV system from SolarEdge – which is projected to improve stadium sustainability and public health in the surrounding communities. The SolarEdge solution with three phase inverters and P800 power optimizers was chosen for its safety, design flexibility, and ability to maximize energy yield.
New Columbia Solar sells 100% of the energy generated to D.C. United at a fixed price for 25 years. This scenario lets the club buy renewable energy from New Columbia Solar at a lower price than the utility, without requiring any up-front capital costs.
A Healthier Bottom Line for Audi Field and The Fans
The new SolarEdge PV system can potentially reduce the stadium’s grid dependency by approximately 30% annually, while helping to save ~$30,000/year on utility bills. As the second largest solar installation at a soccer-specific Major League Soccer stadium in the US, it will generate over 787,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy on-site, and nearly 20 million kilowatt hours over its expected 25 years of operation. It will also reduce CO2 emissions by 556 metric tons annually – the same amount of electricity required to power 95 homes for a year – creating a healthier environment for stadium visitors and locals. By being environmentally responsible, D.C. United hopes to have a positive social impact and influence its fans across the country to choose more sustainable behaviours.
A Winning Team with SolarEdge
With the task of installing a canopy system at more than 100 feet off the ground, New Columbia Solar swiftly turned to SolarEdge solutions for its engineering and design flexibility. The capacity for longer strings and strings of different lengths allowed engineers to optimize roof space, reduce cables, combiner boxes and achieve lower balance of system (BoS) costs.
With MPPT technology embedded in module-level power optimizers, SolarEdge can eliminate mismatch losses by up to 3% in year one - a benefit unattainable with traditional
string inverters. Power optimizers also allow maximum energy generation from every individual module on the same string - even when located on different roof facets
MPPT technology also facilitates remote monitoring and problem-solving, making it easy to pinpoint any under performing modules and reduce onsite maintenance visits and costs.
SolarEdge solutions inspire customer confidence with long-term, industry-leading warranties and by exceeding NEC 2017 safety code and grid requirements. The system's built-in SafeDC feature is designed to automatically reduce DC voltage to touch-safe levels during grid failures, providing maximum protection for the installation crew and maintenance personnel.
Sporting events and organizations around the world, including the IOC and FIFA, recognize the importance of sustainability to their fans and partners as solar become a star player at stadiums, raceways and arenas.
With this SolarEdge install and its other green initaitives, Audi Field is leading the way towards an environmentally friendly future, and their efforts can be a model to other sports venues and stadiums across the world hoping to lessen their environmental impact. By installing solar, a popular and influential stadium like Audi Field has not only set an example to its teams and fans on how reliable and inexpensive clean energy can be, but is also shining a light on the complex and critical issue of climate change.
This PV system produces energy equivalent to: