San Jose company to provide solar energy to 49ers stadium


Work on the new stadium is moving along quickly. The unobstructed sight lines will be great for fans. But where do you put solar panels when there's no roof? How do you power these field lights that already are in place along one side of the field?

"We've got panels that are going to be on some of the entryways, of course the little bit of roof that there is. And then there's going to be a neat leading edge renewable area that's going to have panels above the area, kind of like what you see here in the courtyard," said Tom Werner, President & CEO of SunPower.

The panels will cover the luxury suite tower, the covered walkways that will span Tasman Drive and the training facility. NRG Energy is doing the installation. The photo-voltaic panels will be manufactured locally, in Milpitas, by Flextronics for SunPower. The solar system will be a showcase for Silicon Valley technology.

"We're engineering it in the building next door. The team here runs manufacturing. We build the panel locally and then we get to see it put on what's going to be the world's best football stadium," said Werner.

The panels will produce enough electricity to power 100 homes on a typical day. But on game days, the stadium will draw the equivalent of 4,000 homes.

Silicon Valley Power, which services the city of Santa Clara, is building a new substation nearby to make sure the stadium will have that power. It's a state-of-the-art facility with three transformers that the utility company says will prevent a blackout like the one that stopped the Superbowl game in New Orleans.

"There's redundancy in every aspect of this, including an extra feeder which is on stand-by just in case the first two have issues. There's automatic switch-overs. It's very well designed and well planned out," said Larry Owens, Silicon Valley Power Customer Service Manager.

SunPower says the solar panels will be more than enough energy production to offset the energy needs of eight home games. The solar panels will start being installed late this year.

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