FedEx Field Solar Array

Large-scale solar array: FedEx Field Solar Array; DLR Group

08/09/2012


Click to watch the Timelapse of NRG's Solar Panel Installation at FedExField video. Courtesy: DLR Group and YouTubeProject name: FedEx Field Solar Array

Location: Landover, Md.

Firm name: DLR Group

Project type, building type: Large-scale solar array, stadium

Project duration: 4 months

Project completion date: Sept. 11, 2011

Engineering challenges

DLR Group teamed with NRG Energy to design a large-scale solar array at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins. The 8,000-panel, 2 MW photovoltaic energy generating system covers 800 parking spaces DLR Group’s design at FedEx Field is a 2 MW photovoltaic energy generating system. A branded entry plaza for client NRG Energy also is a focal point of the design. Courtesy: DLR Group (Click to enlarge)and generates enough power to serve all of the facility’s electrical needs on non-game days. It also provides a portion of the stadium's electricity needs on game days. The prominent display of solar panels raises awareness of renewable energy. A branded entryway showcases clean energy technologies and additional information about the potential of renewable energy. A signature design element is a 30-ft-tall silhouette of a quarterback dubbed “Solar man” that showcases the flexibility of thin-film solar technology. The biggest challenge for the design of the FedEx Field solar array was the tight construction schedule. The design launched on May 1, 2011. Construction commenced on July 7, with a hard completion date of Sept. 11, which was the home opener for the Washington Redskins versus the New York Giants. The date also marked the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. The Giants and Redskins represented the two cities most directly affected by 9/11. The eyes of the nation were to be on FedEx Field that day so it was essential to meet the project schedule.

Project schedule

  • 05/01/2011: Design commences
  • 07/05/2011: Construction starts
  • 09/11/2011: Washington Redskins season opener vs. New York Giants
  • 09/18/2011: Solar Bowl, official grand opening, Washington Redskins vs. Arizona Cardinals

The design of the NRG Entry Plaza at FedEx Field features 188 BIPV translucent solar panels applied to the exterior wall of a pedestrian entry ramp. Solar Man is a 30-ft-tall statue using thin-film solar laminated between two layers of colored polycarbonate. Courtesy: DLR Group (Click to enlarge)

Solutions

The integrated DLR Group engineering (structural and electrical) and architecture team worked strategically to ensure project delivery by communicating directly with manufacturers to address and refine technical specs to achieve the performance needs for panels during design. By developing early relationships with Prince Georges County, the design team was able to phase the review and permitting process to allow construction to start prior to receiving all permits. Construction also was expedited by collaborating with panel manufacturers to time the delivery of materials to the site on specific dates to avoid storage and movement of panels prior to installation. Panels literally arrived, were unloaded from the truck, and were immediately installed. The project also includes 10 electric vehicle charging stations from NRG’s eVgosm charging network. Information kiosks in the parking lot and at the NRG entry plaza also inform fans about renewable energy and showcase NRG clean energy solutions. Construction was complete for the Redskins kick-off on Sept. 11, and for the official unveiling of the array during the Solar Bowl one week later.

Project facts

  • System size: 2 MW dc—1,957,728 W actual
  • Estimated annual energy production: 2.5 million kWh/year; 2,500 MWh/year— 2,581,193 kWh/year ‚ actual—8,544 kWh/year (average metro Washington, D.C., home)
  • Panels: 8285 total solar panels, 7572 parking lot panels (SunPower 235 monocrystalline panels), 525 ramp roof panels (SunPower 235 monocrystalline panels), 188 ramp wall panels (Schott ASI semitransparent laminate panel)
  • Parking lot solar array: 841 covered parking spots, 2.47 acres (107,400 sq ft) of parking spots physically covered (parking spaces only)
  • Electric vehicle charging stations: 10 total Level 2 charging stations

The 188 BIPV translucent solar panels on the entry ramp wall are backlit with programmable Traxon LED light fixtures. Courtesy: DLR Group (Click to enlarge)SunPower 240 Monocrystaline Panels provide 800 covered parking spots on 2.5 acres at the FedExField array. Courtesy: NRG Energy (Click to enlarge)



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