The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Verizon Center will operate using 25 percent solar energy under new partnership

(Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Verizon Center is getting greener in 2017. Monumental Sports & Entertainment on Thursday announced a new partnership with Virginia-based WGL Energy Services that will enable the downtown home of the Capitals, Wizards, Mystics and Valor to operate using 25 percent solar energy.

“Sustainability is at the core of our operations across all of Monumental Sports & Entertainment,” Dave Touhey, the president of venues for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, said in a release. “We are excited to expand our energy relationship with WGL Energy by entering into this new partnership to bring more renewable energy to Verizon Center.”

Monumental Sports & Entertainment will purchase solar electricity from a third-party-owned solar facility in Frederick County, Md., and receive about 4.7 million kWh per year of energy beginning in late 2017 as part of a long-term contract. WGL Energy reports that the carbon emissions avoided as a result of the new arrangement are equivalent to taking nearly 700 cars off the road for one year.

WGL has been the official energy partner of Verizon Center since 2015 and has already taken steps to make the arena greener. Later this month, Monumental Sports & Entertainment will be honored as one of the Green Sports Alliance’s Innovators of the Year for counterbalancing “more than 3,123 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from 201 events” at Verizon Center in 2016 with carbon offsets. Other winners of the award announced Thursday include the Montreal Canadiens and Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center, which opened in September as the only 100 percent solar-powered, LEED Platinum-certified indoor arena in the world.

Verizon Center’s tenants are among the first pro sports teams powered by offsite renewable energy.

“Offsite renewable energy is one of the fastest-growing sectors within the energy industry,” WGL VP and chief revenue officer Louis J. Hutchinson III said in a statement. “As renewable energy offerings continue to mature, it’s exciting to see the sports industry play a major role in sourcing offsite renewable energy.”

Other professional sports teams in the D.C. area are also doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. Nationals Park was the first professional sports stadium to receive LEED Silver certification when it opened in 2008. The Redskins installed 8,000 solar panels in a FedEx Field parking lot in 2011 and remain among the top users of solar power in the NFL.

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