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San Diego Padres and Sullivan Solar Partner on Biggest Solar Installation in MLB at Petco Park

By GreenSportsBlog

A crane lowers equipment for Sullivan Solar Power’s installation of its solar system atop Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres (Photo credit: Sullivan Solar Power)

A crane lowers equipment for Sullivan Solar Power’s installation of its solar system atop Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres (Photo credit: Sullivan Solar Power)

On-site solar at sports stadia and arenas has become a “thing” over the past decade across all sports. Starting with the Colorado Rockies and Coors Field in 2007, Major League Baseball has seen its share solar-topped roofs and solar canopied parking lots pop up. Most of the MLB installations have been on the smallish side. That changes with the late March opening of the largest solar installation in the big leagues at Petco Park, a partnership between the San Diego Padres and Sullivan Solar Power.

The San Diego Padres are poised to flip the switch this month on the largest solar installation in Major League Baseball at Petco Park. In fact, the 336,500 kW system will generate more electricity than all of the solar systems in MLB combined. It is thus fitting that the groundbreaking Petco Park solar system is being built and installed by Sullivan Solar Power, one of the most innovative and inspiring solar companies in Southern California if not the entire country.

The inspiring part of the Sullivan Solar Power story comes from the company’s namesake and founder, Daniel Sullivan.

A lifelong San Diegan, Sullivan was a 27 year-old electrician in 2004. Concerned about what he saw as a war-for-oil in Iraq, especially with the perspective that comes with being a new dad, and sensing an opportunity with a clean, domestic form of energy, Sullivan went to his boss and suggested the company get involved with solar. The boss said no at first and then, perhaps tired of his persistent employee’s repeated requests, finally relented — to a point — by saying, “if you want to build it yourself, go ahead. But we aren’t changing our focus to doing solar.”

Sullivan said something to the effect of “to heck with that” and founded his own company, Sullivan Solar Power.

Problem was, he had only $2,500 in the bank, a pickup truck and some tools.

So Sullivan started by living and working out of the garage of one of his first customers. Fast-forward a couple of years and things had improved somewhat: Sullivan Solar Power had four employees had leased office space. And Sullivan was no longer living at the garage. Instead, he was living at the office — hiding that fact from his colleagues — and showering at the gym.

But, the company’s mission — to fundamentally change the way we make electricity — along with its commitment to quality work, its educate-the-customer-about-solar ethos, its robust lineup of community service engagements, and its use of American-made panels began to resonate in Greater San Diego. So, too did Sullivan’s money back guarantee to customers. According to Tara Kelly, Sullivan Solar Power’s director of community development, “When Daniel started this company 14 years ago, there were less than 100 solar power systems on our local grid and it was much more expensive to go solar. Daniel, an electrician by trade, was so confident that his systems would pay off for customers; he offered to pay them if the panels didn’t produce as promised. The result? About 50 percent of our customers come from referrals.”

Read the full story here.

Member Highlight: NextEra’s Clean Energy Solutions for Sports and Entertainment Venues


NextEra Energy Resources (NextEra), together with its affiliated entities, is a clean-energy leader and the world’s largest operator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, as well as one of the largest wholesale generators of electric power in the U.S.  In December, NextEra partnered with Green Sports Alliance to educate Alliance member organizations in California on implementing renewable energy solutions.

Stadiums and entertainment venues have significant exposure to energy costs because of both the amount and time of day that energy is used.  The timing of the energy consumed at venues often increases the expense through high demand charges from the utility, and can even reduce the cost-effectiveness of energy-saving installations like LEDs.  NextEra works with customers nationwide to identify the optimal solution to address those costs and meet sustainability goals using a variety of technologies, financing structures, local programs, and incentives.

Why should your team care about renewable energy?

  • Lower Your Energy Costs – Smarter energy strategies can help stadiums stabilize and reduce expenses. There are even opportunities to create revenue if stadiums partner with the local utility to enhance grid stability.
  • Enhance Your Brand – Sustainability is simply a matter of doing the right thing, and fans and sponsors alike want to be associated with that.  Plus, you can demonstrate your commitment to the community by bringing jobs and clean energy.
  • Build in Resiliency – At the Super Bowl in 2013, a power surge at the Superdome created a blackout, after equipment sensed an abnormality in the system from a Beyoncé halftime show with extravagant lighting and video effects. Having a backup system such as energy storage can significantly reduce the negative impacts of system issues and give your stadium a reliability edge.

NextEra considers a venue’s individual load profile, sustainability goals, and energy costs to identify and deliver a tailored solution from start to finish.  The breadth of NextEra’s expertise allows it to customize solutions to fit a customer’s unique needs, from on-site solar and energy storage, to EV charging stations, renewable energy credits and community solar gardens.  For example, NextEra’s community solar gardens allow subscribers, including a professional sports team in Minnesota, to purchase a fixed amount of solar power without having to install a system on their own property.

Read more about NextEra’s solar gardens.

Padres Installing Baseball’s Biggest Solar Project

The San Diego Union Tribune

The $1 million solar project is expected to be finished by the Padres' home opener March 29. Photo Credit: San Diego Union Tribune.

The $1 million solar project is expected to be finished by the Padres’ home opener March 29. Photo Credit: Sullivan Solar Power.

Petco Park is about to become home to the largest solar power system in Major League Baseball.

  • Workers have begun to install a 336,520-watt project, with 716 solar modules that can produce more than 12 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in the next 25 years.
  • The project will be large — bigger than the solar systems installed by seven other teams combined.
  • The system will be installed on the stadium’s roof and is expected to be ready by the Padres’ season opener March 29.

The Padres go big on solar: Here’s the full story

There are no guarantees how the rebuilding Padres will do this coming season but on the energy front, the team is about to become baseball’s undisputed leader in the solar standings.

Construction of the largest solar power system in Major League Baseball has begun at Petco Park — a 336,520-watt project comprised of 716 high-efficiency, 470-watt solar modules expected to produce more than 12 million kilowatt-hours over the next 25 years.

Seven other teams in the majors have installed solar facilities in recent years but at a Wednesday news conference announcing the plans, officials said the Padres’ solar array will be larger than all the other teams’ facilities combined.

“This project really checked all the boxes for us,” said Erik Greupner, Padres chief operating officer. “It’s something that will generate energy savings for us over time and it’s consistent with the priorities to our fan base and to the city of San Diego.”

Workers from San Diego-based Sullivan Solar Power began installing the modules earlier this week and the Padres anticipate the project will be wrapped up in time for the team’s season opener March 29 against Milwaukee.