Among the changes the Kansas City Royals have made for the upcoming season is a unique stadium feature that may not may not add to the product on the field but definitely will help out on the team's profit and loss statement.
The Royals are joining the green environment with the addition of a large expanse of solar panels at Kauffman Stadium, behind and above the fences extending across most of the outfield. The Royals have formed a partnership with Kansas City Power & Light for a solar installation that the two parties believe to be the largest in-stadium solar project in Major League Baseball.
The installation includes 120 solar panels - blue panels in brushed aluminum frames - is expected to produce 36,000 kilowatt-hours of sun-generated energy per year, which KCP&L officials say is enough to provide the electricity needs for four-to-six homes.
The solar power source won't provide all of the stadiums electrical energy needs. "We're thinking at this point it'll probably be enough to power the refrigeration for all the beverages in the stadium," said Chuck Caisley, vice president of marketing and public affairs for KCP&L.
"Your beer is going to be cooled by the sun," he quipped.
The installation of the new solar panels, evenly divided on either side of the large CrownVision board in center field and atop the canopy of the stadium's Outfield Experience, was completed on Monday.
"The Royals are committed to making Kauffman Stadium one of the most environmentally friendly facilities in sports, Royals' vice president of business operations Kevin Ulrich said in announcing the partnership on Tuesday.
Major League Baseball has been promoting green initiatives and is encouraging teams to become more energy efficient and use more renewable energy. Kauffman Stadium is now one of five major-league ballparks, including Coors Field in Denver and Progressive Field in Cleveland, to incorporate solar energy panels.
The solar panels are tilted, face south toward home plate and can be seen from every seat. Even though the panels are easily visible from anywhere in the stadium, the installation design blends in nicely with the new stadium renovation and reportedly will not create a distractive glare for hitters.
Royals officials wanted to have the solar panels in place and operative this season so the team could showcase the initiative during the MLB All-Star Game, which Kansas City is hosting in July. "It's a great national platform, not only for the Royals but for KCP&L, to show how we're kind of leading the way in managing these green initiatives," Ulrich said.
Fans will be able to learn more about the solar panels and renewable energy through an educational kiosk that will be available at the stadium. The Royals are leasing the solar equipment from KCP&L.
Paperless ticketing is another green initiative that the Royals will put in place this season. "We're offering that now for season ticket holders," Ulrich said.
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