Golden State Warriors practice facility goes solar

From players’ salaries (and egos) to stadiums and arenas, pretty much everything about professional sports is big… including the carbon footprint. You likely only need to take a look at huge, climate-controlled facilities with acres and acres of parking to figure that even single events are responsible for massive greenhouse gas emissions. Genuine reductions in that footprints will likely require major shifts in how fans experience the play of their favorite teams… for now, though, a number of pro franchises are doing what they can with LEED building standards, renewable energy installations, and fan education.

The Golden State Warriors basketball team will join that group tomorrow with the unveiling of a 9,641 sq. ft., 143.5kW solar installation on its practice facility in downtown Oakland. Installed by California-based The Solar Company, the system will generate about 760 kWH a day, and is sized to provide up to 26% of the facility’s electricity. While the Warriors will certainly take the green PR that comes with this move, it’s also designed to cut some costs: the array should save the organization about $36,000/year. OK, that’s a small fraction of a well-paid player’s salary, but over the long term, the Warriors estimate over $2 million in energy cost savings.

Some will certainly yell greenwashing, and maybe there’s some merit to that — there might be more emissions savings from a well-organized campaign to get fans to travel to and from games by public transportation. But, a solar array on a prominent building could have ripple effects in terms of introducing others to the benefits of incorporating renewables in business operations… and that could be good for all of us long-term.

What do you think? Solar array as showpiece? Or a good first step…?

Image credit: The Solar Company