Installing solar panels on major sports stadiums and on the roofs of cricket, soccer and AFL head offices could generate around 20,000 megawatt-hours of clean energy – enough to power 2,890 households, new research has found.

The research found the installation of solar panels on major stadiums and headquarters would create jobs and prevent 310,000 tonnes of climate pollution over two decades.

By going solar these sports could save a combined total of $3.7m annually in the long term.

Going solar is good for regional and community clubs too, with a high-level assessment of regional and community clubs across the three sports suggesting there may be 400m² of viable roof space on club facilities that is not yet being used to create clean solar power.

Biggest solar opportunities

  • AFL: Metricon Stadium (Carrara), home of the Gold Coast Suns, has 1647 kilowatts of clean energy potential.
  • Cricket: The Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) has 1004 kilowatts of clean energy potential.
  • Soccer: The Darwin headquarters of Football NT has 406 kilowatts of clean solar potential.


  • North Melbourne, St Kilda and Richmond football clubs have all installed substantial 100-kilowatt solar energy systems.
  • The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) has installed a 99-kilowatt solar energy system to power its water recycling facility.
  • Richmond Football Club is the first AFL club to join the United Nation’s Sports for Climate Action Initiative.

“From the biggest stadium to the smallest clubrooms, Australian sports can work together to become powered by 100% clean energy,” said Australian Conservation Foundation campaigns director Paul Sinclair.

“To become pollution free in the next decade, Australians need to work together and get on with the job of making our country a clean energy superpower.

“That includes making Australia’s stadiums and clubrooms renewable-powered and energy efficient.

“The solutions to do this are available right here, right now. Moving to clean energy creates jobs, cuts energy costs and gives Australian rivers, forests and wildlife a chance to thrive.

Sports in Australia face a growing threat from climate change. Driven mainly by burning fossil fuels like coal and gas, global warming is drying out sports grounds, disrupting events and increasing health risks for players.

“The costs of missing the opportunities before us are huge. More catastrophic bushfires and weather events will destroy homes of people and wildlife.

“Extreme and deadly heatwaves will threaten the lives of Australians, including sportspeople and fans at elite and community levels.

“At its best Australian sport brings people together to achieve great things. Now is one of those moments when Australia needs its sportspeople and fans to play like a great team.

“We believe Australian sports can be powered by 100% clean energy by 2030.”

Collingwood footballer Jordan Roughead is concerned about climate change.

“We have seen the impact global warming is having on sport, particularly over the last few years. The science says if we don’t change the way we’re living now, future generations are going to suffer.

“If we can work as a team and work towards a common goal to protect our climate and our environment, our impact will be significant.”

ACF has contracted the Australian Energy Foundation to offer 75 free energy consultations for sports clubs so they can work out a business case for going solar. Sporting organisations can make an expression of interest via the Australian Energy Foundation's website.

The research was conducted by the School of Photovoltaic & Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) at the University of New South Wales and the Australian PV Institute (APVI).

Rooftop solar potential for AFL

Rooftop solar potential for Australian cricket

Rooftop solar potential for Australian soccer

Powering a sporting nation: Summary report

Header pic by Yu-Jheng Fang, via flickr creative commons

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