Audi Field, the home of Major League Soccer club, D.C. United, has partnered with New Columbia Solar, a D.C.-based solar energy company, to complete a 627.8 kW-sized solar system across the stadium’s canopies and rooftop. Construction was completed in May of 2020 with the assistance of Commonwealth Power, LLC. This is the 2nd largest solar installation at any Major League Soccer dedicated venue and the 5th largest solar installation ever in Washington, D.C.
The addition of more than 1,700 solar panels to the 20,000-seat stadium 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. A system of this size will reduce CO2 emissions by 556 metric tons annually, equating to the amount of electricity required to power 95 homes for an entire year.
“When we opened Audi Field in 2018, we made a commitment to reducing our environmental impact and mitigating climate change,” said Zachary Abaie, Head of Communications for D.C. United. “New Columbia Solar’s best-in-class solar installation strengthens our position as one of the most environmentally-friendly entertainment destinations in Washington, D.C.”
The new solar system at Audi Field is expected to reduce the stadium’s utility dependency by 30% annually, with increased projections set to occur during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the renewable energy generated by the stadium will offset electricity costs significantly each year.
“The thrill of the Audi Field experience truly embodies the spirit and values of Washingtonians so we couldn’t be prouder of upholding those same values in powering the stadium with clean, solar energy for the next 25-plus years!” said New Columbia Solar CEO, Mike Healy, “In partnership with Audi Field, we developed one of the most innovative solar systems ever seen, paving the way for not only every rooftop across our city to be powered by solar, but also every stadium and arena across our country.”
D.C. United earned a LEED Gold certification for Audi Field in 2018 and have played a leading role in Major League Soccer’s Greener Goals initiative.
— Solar Builder magazine