MLB 2012 Preview: Royals Add Power to Kauffmann This Offseason, Solar Power

Ross ZelenCorrespondent IIMarch 8, 2012

The Kansas City Royals have failed to have a constant source of power for years now. Having to refer back to the glory days of George Brett to think of the last great slugger the Royals have had is a sad statement for a once-proud franchise. Since the Royals successful run in the 1980’s, they have been nothing more than an afterthought.  Finishing over .500 only once since 1995, the Royals have been nothing but a source of constant disappointment for Kansas City faithful.

However, with an influx of talented young players, the excitement of hosting the 2012 MLB All-Star Game at brand new Kauffman Stadium and a new environmental upgrade, the Royals are looking to turn the page and the corner.

Power hitting third baseman Mike Moustakas, slugging first baseman Eric Hosmer and established hitter left fielder Alex Gordon will be literally fueled by the sun this summer, as the Royals installed a massive display of solar panels on top of the outfield grandstand, referred to as the “Outfield Experience.”

The Royals, just another success story of professional sports teams going green, installed and tested the 120 solar panels over the winter. Via Steve Everly at The Kansas City Star, the vast expansion is expected to produce 36,000-kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which is enough to power for four homes. As large of a number as that is, it won’t quite be enough to meet all the new and gorgeous stadium’s electricity needs. However, it should provide most if not all of a crucial element of the game.

Kansas City is somewhat new to the renewable energy push, but because they are hosting the 2012 All-Star Game, the Royals leadership wanted to make sure that something tangible could visibly promote sustainability.

Aside from the state-of-the-art improvements that make Kauffmann Stadium one of the best amongst baseball, the big time move into for a huge 28.8 kilowatt solar array comes as Major League Baseball is making a push to encourage teams to be energy efficient and use more renewable energy.


Kauffman Stadium joins five other ballparks, including those in Denver and Cleveland, already equipped with solar panels. The San Francisco Giants have a bigger solar installation than Kansas City’s, but the expansive array outside AT&T Park is too far for every fan to see it on every trip.

Up until now, most of the environmentally friendly and sustainable initiatives have been taken on the West Coast, with Seattle utilizing composting and attempting to become zero-waste. San Francisco has implemented policies that have significantly cut energy emissions, while the Colorado Rockies have an impressive recycling system.

This could be the start of the spread of solar panels amongst many of the Midwest and Eastern teams. The heartland area gets tons of sunlight, and with new technology the solar panels are protected against all different types of weather. With other teams in the Northeast, such as the Boston Red Sox, installing solar panels in the last couple years as well, the ideas are spreading to fellow baseball leaders.

The commendable act of the Royals getting off the electricity grid could propel a local movement towards solar power. Hopefully, this decision by David Glass (pictured right) and Dayton Moore (left), respective owner and baseball operator of the Royals, will make the baseball franchise leaders in their own community and leaders in bringing sustainability to the Midwest. This could spark a trend in America’s heartland of teams and businesses going with renewable sources of energy.

Furthermore, with the Kansas City energy company KCP&L also doing the energy grid for the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, this could spur a transformation to renewable energies at football stadiums as well. A future with professional sports teams running off of renewable energies, most notably solar, is the daily goal of the Green Sports Alliance.

The Green Sports Alliance is a non-profit organization with a mission to help sports teams; venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent 13 sports leagues and over 90 sports venues and teams - a collaboration that is unprecedented.

The Royals and Major League Baseball are exemplifying the transformation that the NRDC, National Resource Defense Council, asked from any major American public images and sports teams. With the common objectives of enhancing the efficient and sustainable operations of stadiums, the Green Sports Alliance continues to push for a better world.