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FedExField Solar Panels Installed by IBEW Contractors

Hello, thanks for being with us today on a brand new edition of I’m Dominic Giarratano.

Energy independence – it’s not just good for our nation, it’s good for our pocketbooks. Cultivating solar power is one key component of that worthy goal, and Washington DC is helping along this technology the best it can – just not in the way you might think.

If you’re a red-blooded American, you must love football. So our next story is about how solar power and our national passion are coming together in a big way in DC – at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins.

The stadium now boasts the largest solar installation in the DC area, one that is providing tons of power to the stadium and the team offices. What’s important about it for you? The fact that they couldn’t have done it without the help of the NECA-IBEW team.

This is the way many people view solar power – and indeed, solar is powering more and more homes every day.

But what if your ‘home’ has room for 85,000 guests – all with a passion for the gridiron? That’s exactly what you’ll find at FedEx Field in metro Washington DC, home to the Washington Redskins.

So when independent power producer NRG wanted to prove a point about solar’s potential, it knew right where to go – one of the largest stadiums in football. And to pull it all off – they trusted NECA Contractor Truland Electric and their IBEW Local 26 electricians.

Sven Sahkul, Project Executive, Truland Systems Corp.

“Truland has done many solar projects over the years and, in fact, we’ve done over 500 million dollars’ worth of projects that involve solar power since it came into vogue in the 1970s.”

“It’s really coming into its own with both the public and private entities. In fact in the last 18 months, we’ve seen more solar work come our way than has in the last 10 years.”

The install, the largest of its kind in the DC area, was a big, complicated job.

Paul Good, director of field operations, Truland Systems

“There’s 8,000 panels here and every eight panels are connected together. And they go to the combiner box.”

“From the combiner box, the power comes into the inverter house where the voltage is changed from dc voltage to ac voltage.”

“The power from the inverter boxes comes over here to this 3,000 amp 480-volt switch board. And then from this switch board into the stadium to the electric room into another 3,000 amp 480-volt switch gear inside the stadium.”

The fans who see the installation are naturally curious about it. So NRG installed this board that explaines the process in layman’s terms. Not only is it informative, it’s a great advertisement for the NECA-IBEW team’s work.

Chuck Graham, BM Local 26

“This was a very big job and it was very complicated with the way that they had to react to the stadium. It was during preseason, when they had a preseason game, they had to load everything up and take it away and you couldn’t even tell they were working here on Saturday evening. And after the game was over, they’d come back out the next day and install it all over again and man up that day.”

Phil Ovitt, manager, Business Development and Policy, NRG

“When those games are scheduled, they’re going to happen regardless of external factors. So in this case, we were certainly trying to work and get this done and completed in time for the season to start and be under way.”

The Redskins, for their part, were naturally wary about the time frame. But seeing is believing.

Lon Rosenberg, senior VP of operations, Washington Redskins

“At first I was a little unbelieving that we could actually get it done. But the more I spent time talking to the folks at NRG, they convinced me could pull this thing off and get it done and do it right for our fans.”

“My understanding is pretty much we’re running under the solar panels, and the solar panel all the time except for on game days. And on game days, we’re running about 15 percent of our power off those panels.”

Phil Ovitt, manager, Business Development and Policy, NRG

“On a day like today, a beautiful day and a non-game day at FedEx field, all of the Redskins’ energy needs at the stadium will be fulfilled by those solar panels. It’s a very exciting and true and tangible story about sustainability.”

That’s everything from the suites, to the control room to the signs in the parking lot. Day-to-day operations are all covered by the solar power.

It was the chance of a lifetime for many of these electricians who worked on the panels. Lots of them are huge Redskins fans – and they’ll remember they work they did here their entire lives.

Chuck Graham, BM Local 26

“Well, first of all I just want to say HTTR, and you know what that is, and it was a great honor to do the work out here. It meant a lot to the members and they took a lot of pride in doing that work. And there was a big buzz, because it is the Washington Redskins and we’re very proud of them. And they have a winning tradition and we have a winning tradition out here, as a matter of fact, doing such a great job.”

Lon Rosenberg, senior VP of operations, Washington Redskins

“They were amazing, they were professional, they were focused. And they got the job done quickly. And everyone understood the timelines that we were under. But as I walked the job site on a daily basis, I could see how hard they were working and how they were confident that they could get the job done.”

In addition to the solar array, the Redskins have doubled down on the green movement by installing 10 Electric Vehicle charging stations in the parking lot of FedEx Field, available for use by fans for free on game days. Those were installed by the NECA-IBEW team, as well. NRG hopes that this is just the first in a long line of similar installations at NFL stadiums around the country – and NECA and the IBEW certainly have the expertise to get them all done.

We want to send a special shout out to the Redskins, to Truland Electric and to IBEW Local 26 for their help producing this story.

Thanks for being with us on this edition of Electric TV. Until next time, I’m Dominic Giarratano.