City Desk

Solar Panels, But No Roof, For FedEx Field

Dan Snyder built a reputation as an anti-environmentalist. Can he build his way out of it?

The Redskins announced yesterday that a big chunk of the FedExField parking lots will soon be covered by 8,000 solar panels. Based on an artist's rendering released by the team, the result will be a futuristic and figuratively green carport in the Platinum Lot.

And no trees had to be cut down to make room!

According to the statement issued by the team: "These panels will generate power for the stadium and provide covered parking to protect fans from inclement weather and enhance their tailgating experience on game days."

The way things are drawn up on the chalk board, the panels will provide enough electricity to run the stadium throughout the year, other than on game days.

In the official statement plugging the project, Snyder, as is his wont, gave a nod to NRG Energy, the team's corporate partner in the solar panel project:

“Our partnership with NRG will add to the fans’ game day experience at FedExField and offers a unique example of how solar energy installations can do more than generate power,” Snyder said. “NRG’s expertise and vision are a great match for us and we are excited to be part of this effort that will reduce our environmental impact and offer our fans another unique experience.”

The announcement of the solar panels comes as fans are waiting to hear from the team what's really going on inside the stadium, where thousands of seats were removed in the spring amid talk of new "party decks."

Yet despite all the time that's gone by and the work that's been done so far, there have been no artist's renderings released for the alleged party decks, no sale of Standing Room Only tickets to these decks, and no official announcement from the team on what the stadium will look like when all the heavy equipment and power tools are gone.

The biggest rumor, and one that resonates with the fans like few rumors since the buzz that Steve Spurrier was going to be the new head coach after the 2001 season, is that Snyder is planning to put a roof on the stadium.

But, asked if a roof for FedExField is indeed in the team's plans, Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie responds via email: "No plans to install a roof."

Full release after the jump:

LANDOVER, MD and PRINCETON, NJ; July 13, 2011 — The Washington Redskins and NRG Energy, one of the largest energy companies in the United States, will bring renewable energy to FedExField as part of the first professional sports sponsorship to carry the NRG name.

New solar power installations integrated into the stadium and in the parking lot will be unveiled in September. The solar power system at FedExField will provide a portion of the stadium’s electricity needs on game days and can generate enough power to serve all of its electrical needs on non-game days.

As part of the nine-year agreement, NRG will install three different types of solar panels that together will generate two megawatts (MW) of electricity. NRG will cover 850 spaces in the Platinum A1 Parking Lot with 8,000 solar panels. These panels will generate power for the stadium and provide covered parking to protect fans from inclement weather and enhance their tailgating experience on game days. An NRG-branded entry plaza at Gate A will inform fans about renewable energy and showcase clean energy technologies.

The installation will include translucent solar panels, sculptures featuring thin film solar technology and 10 electric vehicle charging stations from NRG’s eVgosm charging network.

“Our partnership with NRG will add to the fans’ game day experience at FedExField and offers a unique example of how solar energy installations can do more than generate power,” said Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins. “NRG’s expertise and vision are a great match for us and we are excited to be part of this effort that will reduce our environmental impact and offer our fans another unique experience.”

“It will take 8,000 solar panels and a lot of expertise to deliver this win to the Redskins – we’re getting it done,” said David Crane, NRG’s President and CEO. “The Redskins understand the importance of increasing our national energy security by making full use of our own inexhaustible natural energy resource. NRG is helping to make that change at FedExField and across the country.”

“There is nothing like homegrown, in this case stadium-grown, energy,” said Fred Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Corporation and part owner of the Washington Redskins. “Solar can be a very smart investment. I am pleased to see FedExField moving in this direction and increasing its own energy independence.”

“We were very excited when the Redskins came to us for process support for the solar panel project at FedExField,” Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III added. “It is the type of green initiative that we are encouraging all businesses in the county to undertake.”

NRG is involved in some of the most ambitious clean energy projects in the country, including utility-scale solar generation in California; eVgosm, the nation’s first privately funded electric vehicle charging network; and smaller-scale efforts that bring the benefits of renewable energy directly to consumers.

NRG’s subsidiary Reliant Energy will be the official provider for all the electricity to power the Redskins in their home stadium. Reliant is one of the largest retail electricity providers in the competitive Texas market, and is expanding both its commercial and residential businesses to several states in the Northeast, including Maryland.

About NRGNRG Energy, Inc. is a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 Index company that owns and operates one of the country’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, N.J., the Company’s power plants provide 25,000 megawatts of generation capacity—enough to supply approximately 20 million homes.

NRG’s retail businesses serve nearly 1.9 million residential, business, commercial and industrial customers. With major investments in solar and wind power, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure, NRG is working to help America transition to a clean energy economy. More information is available at www.nrgenergy.com.

About ReliantReliant Energy provides electricity and energy services to more than 1.5 million retail customers — including homes, businesses, industry, government entities and institutions across Texas. The company also offers service to commercial, industrial, governmental and institutional customers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia, and is expanding its residential business to those states.

For more information, visit www.reliant.com.

Artist's rendering courtesy Washington Redskins

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