The Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania now has a three megawatt solar power plant. The plant will not only provide power for the racetrack facilities, it will also create a surplus of electricity that can be fed back into the local electrical grid. Reportedly the solar system will pay off the 15-16 million dollar cost in about five years. From then on, it will produce electricity for only the low cost of operation and maintenance. The system will also power a village, restaurant and hotel nearby. The solar panels are distributed across about twenty five acres of land. Part of this land was once used for visitor parking at the racetrack.
The project used materials made only in America. It was constructed by a San Diego business, that is owned by a larger French company. Enexco is the company and their site says the solar facility will reduce carbon emissions by 2,370 tons per year. The facility’s president, Brandon Igdalksy said, “…the project will last for 40 years, and that’s a lot of time for that thing to be sitting there and making power. If we can do our little part not only for what we need, but also for the environment and society as a whole, it’s a win-win-win.” Brandon is the grandson of Doc Mattiolo, who founded the track.
The new solar plant is linked with NASCAR’s Green Initiative, which seeks to use less energy, recycle more and produce less greenhouse gases. In addition to the solar race track, NASCAR has been helping offset carbon emissions by planting trees.
The Pocono Raceway is operated by the Mattioli family and is located in the Pocono Mountains. The track is 2.5 miles long, and the stadium seats about 76,000 people. The inaugural Pocono 500 was won by Richard Petty in 1974. The land where the race track is used to be an asparagus farm.
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