From: Winfield Winter, ENN
Published June 20, 2014 08:00 AM

Soccer Under The Sun

The 2014 FIFA World Cup BrazilTM is underway and off to a bright start. For the first time in the tournament's history, matches will be held in stadiums powered by solar energy.


Footballers from the 32 nations represented may curse the sun and the swelter it brings, but Yingli Solar, the world's largest solar panel manufacturer and a FIFA World Cup Sponsor, has captured an opportunity on the world's biggest stage. Yingli Solar estimates its solar panels to generate more than 1MW per year and clean electricity for 25 years or more.

The iconic Estádio do Maracanã that witnessed Pelé's 1000th career goal and much of Brazil's rich footballing history is one of the two sites that received this modern upgrade. This Rio de Janeiro landmark that opened in 1950 now boasts 1,500 Yingli Solar panels with the capability to produce 550MWh of clean electricity per year. To put this in perspective, the Estádio do Maracanã will be able to power 240 homes annually for 25 years and offset 350 tons of carbon dioxide per year – or the same impact as planting 14,000 trees. This shrine of world-class football seems to be becoming a model for world sustainability.

A greater number of Yingli Solar panels have been installed remotely for Arena Pernambuco – a collection of 3,650 high-efficiency Yingli Solar panels part of a 1 MW solar power plant in São Lourenço de Mata. All of this is part of FIFA's continued effort towards sustainability.

As part of its statement, FIFA Head of Corporate Social Responsibility Federico Addiechi says,

"Sustainability is one of the key tenants in our vision for the 2014 FIFA World CupTM. After bringing solar power to 20 Football for Hope Centres in Africa, we are delighted that our collaboration with Yingli is continuing and is now bringing solar PV systems to football stadiums in Brazil. We hope this landmark project will be the catalyst to increase the production and use of renewable energy in the country."

Yingli Solar is not only responsible for the means to create a more sustainable FIFA World CupTM, but it is taking over the role of educator in Brazil. Its solar plant in the state of Pernambuco includes an on-site Visitor Centre where visitors can track the system's performance.

As the scorching sun shines on Brazil this month during the FIFA World CupTM, it presents to the world the unique opportunity of combining sustainability and sport. Its heat has lead to cramps, ailments and the institution of one mandatory water break per half – another first in the tournament's long history. However, the hot sun has also lead to the development of sustainable energy in a developing country that sorely needs it. And that's pretty cool.

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Estádio do Maracanã image via Shutterstock.

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