Car Racing and Energy Efficiency—Strange Bedfellows? Not Anymore
INFINEON RACEWAY, SONOMA, CA — Hershel Allen noticed something different at Infineon Raceway on June 25th at this noted motorsports complex in California's Sonoma Valley: sheep grazing on the hill behind the grandstand.
"They're mowing the grass," observed the NASCAR fan from Santa Rosa. In recent years, Infineon has introduced environmentally friendly practices including recycling, water conservation, and even inviting local farmers to graze 3,000 sheep on the raceway's grounds and track.
Perhaps most important is the installation of more than 1,600 solar panels throughout the Infineon campus. The panels now create 41 percent of the energy used at the raceway, which operates 340 days a year. "The track is in constant use," said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon. "We are blessed with enough excellent weather most of the year."
The solar panel installation is the first major project of Infineon and Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company (PESC), which provides customized technological systems for the sports, entertainment, and education sectors. Last November, Infineon and PESC announced the "Accelerating Sustainable Performance" program at the track. Eight months later, the companies unveiled 1,652 solar panels producing 353 kilowatts of power—a savings of more than 1,000 barrels of oil per year, according to Panasonic. PESC President Jim Doyle estimates the useful life of the solar system at more than 25 years.