Saints field installing hundreds of solar panels

Solar panel installation
Workers Jerry Hitt, left, and Joe Mandler installed solar panels at CHS Field in St. Paul, Minn., July 8, 2015.
Jared Hemming | MPR News

Workers began installing 300 solar panels Wednesday at CHS Field in St. Paul.

The 103-kilowatt photovoltaic system is expected to supply 12 to 15 percent of the energy at the St. Paul Saints' ballpark when the installation is finished. The solar project is part of CHS Field's effort to become "the greenest ballpark in America," said Tom Whaley, executive vice president of the Saints.

"We're pretty sure it's the largest solar array inside a sports facility in North America," Whaley said.

The field's scoreboard is expected to display the solar power the panels generate, along with the score.

"It's not out of the realm of possibility that the solar power we reap during the day runs the ballpark for the game at night," Whaley said.

The solar panels, at the northeast end of the park, cost nearly $600,000. Xcel Energy's Renewable Development Fund provided the city a grant for most of that amount.

CHS Field strives to operate as a zero-waste facility, diverting 90 percent of its waste out of landfills with compost and recycling. It irrigates its field partly with stored rainwater and uses greywater (or lightly used water) in its toilets.

"Ballparks are traditionally water hogs," Whaley said. "I believe we're the first indoor use of greywater in St. Paul."

CHS Field sits on the former site of Diamond Products, whose building was partially reused to construct the facility. The $62 million stadium began its first season in May.

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