Racing is not very green, and yet it continues to amaze me how many in the racing world are taking clean energy seriously. A great example is the American Le Mans Series, which continues to promote hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles at its races. Even the greenest cars can’t green a whole race track though, which often covers hundreds of acres and on race day can accumulate epic mounds of garbage.
Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania is taking a pro-active step in greening their facility. This past weekend they threw the switch on the largest solar array in Pennsylvania, which not only provides power to the massive race track, but 1,000 nearby homes as well.
The 3 MegaWatt solar array is placed right next to the race track, which is perhaps better known as the “Tricky Triangle”. Since Pennsylvania decided to deregulate its power industry, costs started going up by as much as 40%, so the race track’s owner, Doc Mattioli, looked into alternatives. He settled on building a $16 million, 25 acre solar facility nearby. It provides plenty of power and then some for the track and outbuildings. By pumping power back into the electrical grid, the race track is also earning itself green credits, which it can later sell to less-clean industries.
The system is expected to pay for itself in just four or five years. You can’t put a price tag on energy independence though, and hopefully other race tracks will start paying attention and incorporate more solar systems. I love to see racing go green; I am still eagerly awaiting a petrol vs. electric car race though. THAT would be fun… but I guess I’ll settle for solar panels for now.
Chris DeMorro is a car enthusiast, blogger, and all-around crazy man who is as passionate about hybrids as he is about Hemis. You can follow his constant misadventures at Three Months In A Mustang.