The deal has been sealed on Brazil’s first solar stadium, just one of twelve set to go green in time for the 2014 Olympics. The flagship for this ambitious initiative is Estádio de Pituaçu (more formally known as Estádio Metropolitano Roberto Santos), in the beautiful beachfront city of Salvador da Bahia.
In the land “where soccer [football] is considered more than just a religion,” this storied, 34,000-seat stadium will be electrified by December thanks to Gehrlicher Ecoluz Solar do Brasil, a joint venture between the German photovoltaics company Gehrlicher Solar AG and Brazilian Ecoluz Participações S.A. The massive installation will use components from Yingli Solar and Uni-Solar. Construction gets underway this month.
“This contract is very important to us,” said Ricardo da Silva David, director of Gehrlicher Ecoluz Solar do Brasil, “in particular against the backdrop of plans for outfitting all twelve 2014 Soccer World Cup venues with solar power systems.”
This is Latin America’s first stadium to get the solar treatment, though scores of venues around the world are turning to solar power, which can provide up to 80% of the venue’s electricity, as well as extra to sell to their communities. The largest is in the United States, Pennsylvania’s NASCAR Pocono Raceway, with 40,000 solar panels; stadiums in Taiwan and Australia are about half the size.
Estádio de Pituaçu, home to Esporte Clube Bahia is completing a massive R$55 million (US$34 million) renovation that expanded seating and improved amenities as a “model” for other World Cup stadiums. It is also Brazil’s first entirely digital stadium, with 115 CCTV cameras surveying the center all times. This will help give fans at home a clear view of the game, and help security keep an eye on the crowds.
If you’ve got time to spend in Salvador, a most Afro-Brazilian of cities, there’s plenty to do. Be sure to stay in the gorgeous city center, which once served as the Brazil’s capital, and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city sits on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by brilliant beaches, not even including idyllic Ilha Itaparica just offshore. Enjoy!