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The greening of motorsport continues with NASCAR, which has a program to plant 20 acres of trees at race tracks every year. Individual tracks are doing their own things as well, with Pocono Raceway the latest to go a step further: The New York Times reports that it is planting 25 acres of solar cells, equaling about 40,000 panels, to create three megawatts of its own power.

The track's power bill was about to go up to $500,000 per year, and they figured a better way to spend the money would be investing in renewable energy. The solar farm, being built by enXco and planned for completion next year, will cost up to $17 million but it will eventually pay for itself. In addition to the money the Raceway will save by using its own power, it can sell the excess production back to the regional grid operator for "seven figures" each year.

True, it doesn't exactly make motorsports green, but it's a good step. And we have to admit – it makes a lot more sense than KERS. Thanks for the tip, Deepa!

[Source: The New York Times via Green Launches]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      How can it make more sense than Kers?
      Kers is an initiative for the development of EV systems.
      Internal combustion engines have been obsolete now for many years as have 19th century dog gearboxes. They are only continued in use in motor racing for the benefit of gas guzzler manufacturer's and their bosses the oil companies.
      The only advances in the last decade in ic have been variations on a theme.
      This solar power system for the raceway is only being done because of financial pressures. The economic disaster we are all in is beginning to bite and it will soon bite a lot harder.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Damn right it makes more sense than KERS. ;-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      They should go "rain powered". Thank you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was thinking the same thing. It seems like every time there's a Pocono race on, it's a rain-delayed snoozefest.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Solar is a brilliant idea. I put solar panels on my house. I paid with a line of credit from Wells Fargo. Even with interest it will pay for itself within 10 years. I bet each race track uses A LOT of power on the weekends it hosts NASCAR and even smaller races. If just about everything is turned off otherwise, they will make a lot on selling their excess electricity.
      • 5 Years Ago
      solar* (no edit button :(
      • 5 Years Ago
      Those power cells will never pay themselves off.

      The interest on 17 million is greater than the increase in their power bill. Never mind maintenance costs and the like.

      I like the idea of renewable energy, but it just does not make economic sense.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, you get 6% per year? I want an account at your bank!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The power bill is $500,000, but how often do they have to use their full power capabilities? Five-seven days a month. The other twenty five days of the month can be spent routing juice back into the grid.

        Some quick and dirty math: $500,000/65 race days = $7500 bill/day

        300 non-race days X $7500 generation = $2,250,000

        It'd take just 8 years (including $125,000/annual maintenance) for Poconos to make the money back.

        Of course, that's quick, dirty, and rough. I don't know exactly how many days the full power capability will be used, nor if these solar cells will be powerful enough to fulfill the track's needs. But over the long term, large solar cell installations can become profitable.
        • 5 Years Ago
        assuming 12 hours of sunlight / day, 250 sunlight days a year, and 11cents / kwh

        3,000 * 12 * 250 * .11 = 990,000 $/year ignoring maintenance costs.

        interest on 17 million at a conservative 6% is over 1 million / year not counting compounding or budget overruns.

        Its a much better investment to put your 17 million in a bank than to build solar cells.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ok, the investment can be an economic Loss (depending on bank interest), but it's putting money in the market and people to work and will get back the initial investment by selling back to the grid.

        and I Doubt Pocono fires up at full capacity as much as Derek Said.