The San Francisco 49ers Look to Be the Best with New Solar-Powered LEED Gold Stadium


Levi’s Stadium becomes the first professional football stadium designed around LEED certification, aiming for LEED gold certification. A 375 kW solar system installed by NRG Energy provides necessary renewable energy for the stadium, with the goal of achieving net zero energy use.

The new home of the San Francisco 49ers, Levi’s stadium, officially opened two days ago. As is typical in Silicon Valley, the stadium is pushing the boundaries of technology. From an app that shows the shortest line for beer and bathrooms to stadium-wide wifi, the state-of-the-art facility is designed around improving the fans’ experience.

It is also the first professional football stadium with LEED certification standards incorporated into the original design and architecture. Solar energy has been included on stadiums before and is a key aspect of this certification. NRG Energy, Inc. was selected to install the NRG Solar Terrace as well as the PV systems for the three NRG Energy Bridges. The solar panels are expected to generate enough energy annually to offset the power consumed at the stadium during 49ers regular season home games, with the goal to achieve net zero energy use.

“It is reassuring to know that when leading franchises like the 49ers with a rich tradition of innovation and success decide to embrace clean energy, they turn to NRG,” said David Crane, President and CEO of NRG. “We are pleased to help the 49ers turn their new state-of-the-art stadium into a model for others as we reach for the clean energy future.”

A beacon of innovation, Levi’s Stadium will be powered with assistance from a 375 kW solar installation, using more than 1,150 solar panels along the NRG Solar Terrace and three NRG Energy Bridges. SunPower Corp. supplied its high-efficiency, E20/327 watt solar panels for the installation. Serving as the main entry and exit avenues to the stadium, the bridges showcase the stadium’s sustainable design and will provide shade on warm game days. The bridges also serve as inspiration for anyone seeking sustainable energy solutions for themselves on a smaller scale.

“The vision for an energy-efficient and visually-stunning stadium has been realized,” said San Francisco 49ers President Paraag Marathe. “We’ve never strayed from what we wanted Levi’s Stadium to represent and that is a place to comfortably enjoy exciting sports and entertainment events and a venue that sparks a new view of what sustainability and being environmentally conscious can look like.”

In addition to solar, the stadium has incorporated electric vehicle charging stations, a green rooftop to assist with stormwater drainage, and bicycle valet parking.