NASCAR Race Track Gets Solar Power

When you think “green,” chances are NASCAR is not the next word that comes to mind. But this fuel-guzzling motorsport circuit has initiated a major campaign to green its operations. The latest development in this effort? A solar-powered sport racing facility in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

This solar project is a 3 megawatt ground-mount photovoltaic solar energy system at Pocono Raceway, installed over 25 acres adjacent to the 2.5-mile race track, which recently went online. The scope of this project is far from minor: with 40,000 photovoltaic modules drawing energy from the sun, the Pocono Raceway solar installation is now the primary electric energy source for the race track and is expected to add electricity to the local power grid. According to a release, this installation is visible from space.

Pocono Raceway Solar Project

image via Nascar Green

NASCAR’s green campaign is apparently not out of step with its fans, either, which, according to the sporting agency, “have become more engaged in environmentally-minded activities, such as recycling and using energy efficient light bulbs,” according to recent independent research by an Experian Simmons National Consumer Survey. The survey found that 3 of 4 NASCAR fans (77%) believe each of us has a personal obligation to do what we can to be environmentally responsible; 2 of 3 NASCAR fans (65%) indicate companies should help consumers become more environmentally responsible; more than 80% of NASCAR fan households recycle, (up +12% over the past 5 years); and approximately 40% of NASCAR fan households use energy efficient light bulbs (more than double the amount just 5 years ago).

“NASCAR is committed to becoming a leader in environmental responsibility by reducing our impact and serving as a testing ground for innovative new approaches for sustainability,” said Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR, in a statement. “This meaningful green project reflects the NASCAR industry’s collaborative approach to preserving the environment and highlights Pocono Raceway’s significant contribution as the first major U.S. sports venue to go green with 100% renewable energy. We encourage other tracks and sponsors to follow this lead in making sustainable programs and renewable energy a continued priority for the sport.”

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.