NRG Energy Scores Solar Victory for Washington Redskins

Tom Johnson | July 14, 2011 | Energy & Environment
Princeton company plans to power FedEx stadium with thousands of solar panels in parking lot

The team colors of the Washington Redskins, as any diehard fan can tell you, are burgundy and gold. But soon they will add a touch of green to the mix.

NRG Energy, a Princeton-based energy company, plans to integrate new solar power installations into FedEx Stadium and its parking lot in September, providing a portion of the electricity to power the stadium on game days and all of its electricity needs on non-game days.

Not only will the solar panels provide the electricity to power the stadium, the company also will install 10 electric vehicle-charging stations in the parking lot. NRG is one of the biggest promoters of plug-in electric vehicles, developing an infrastructure for electric vehicles in and around Houston, TX, under a pilot program.

When completed, the Princeton company expects to install three types of 8,000 solar panels in a parking lot. Besides generating power for the stadium, the panels will provide covered parking to protect fans from inclement weather and enhance the tailgating experience on game days, officials said.

“It will take 8,000 solar panels and a lot of expertise to deliver this win to the Redskins — we’re getting it done,” said David Crane, president and chief executive officer of NRG Energy.

NRG is a diversified energy company with more than 25,000 megawatts of generating capacity, including natural gas, nuclear and coal plants. In recent years, it has expanded its portfolio to include solar and wind projects, as well as building the nation’s first privately funded infrastructure system for plug-in electric vehicles.

“There is nothing like homegrown, in this case stadium-grown energy,” said Fred Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of the FedEx Corp. and part owner of the Washington Redskins. “Solar can be a very smart investment. I am pleased to see FedEx moving in this direction and increasing its energy independence.”

NRG’s subsidiary, Reliant Energy, will be the official provider for all the electricity to power the Redskins in their home stadium. Reliant is one of the largest retail electricity providers in the Texas market and is expanding its commercial and residential businesses to several states in the Northeast, as well as Maryland.