The Olympic athletics track on which legendary sprinter Jesse Owens defied Nazi racism in 1936 is soon to be further enhanced, being overlooked with solar PV.

German-based manufacturer Solarwatt topped its podium last week, landing a new contract to supply the Olympiastadion Berlin, also home of Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin, with a 0.6MWp PV system to be installed on the outer concrete ring of the stadium’s roof.

Equivalent to the needs of around 200 households, the output of around 1,600 panels rated at 360Watts will meet around 11% of the stadium’s 5.6 MWh annual consumption. Over 200 tonnes of CO2 will be saved each year.

A key benefit both to the stadium’s operator and its owners the city of Berlin is that investment in the PV system is undertaken by others. The parties see such PPAs – power purchase agreements – as a major driver in the expansion of renewable energy in cities.

“For us, the rooftop PV system is a further step in making the entire property CO2-neutral,” Timo Rohwedder, Managing Director of Olympiastadion Berlin explained.

“Here, neither the city of Berlin nor we as the operator have to invest ourselves; financing and operations are secured for at least ten years”.

Lightning Bolt

The same stadium hosted the meet in 2009 at which Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt charged to double sprint glory, setting World Records at both 100 metres & 200 metres.

BMW-allied Solarwatt prides itself on its double-faceted glass fronting of modules, enabling a claimed greater resilience than its rivals.  The firm vaunts its high performance and bi-facial modules.  Recent UK showcase projects include last summer’s 15-site installation on schools at Danbury, Chelmsford, part-funded by the EU’s Empower 2.0 project.  Facilities managers Mitie delivered the Essex schools project.

Blessed with vast, unshaded roof space under long-term ownership, and in buildings of high power demand, sports stadia and solar PV ought to be natural allies.

Dutch football giants Ajax’s municipally owned home the Johan Cruiff ArenA in Amsterdam has a 1MWp solar PV system, plus 3.8 MWh of green power storage hooked up from second-use batteries extracted from 148 Nissan Leaf cars.

In Britain, Fulham FC became the first Premiership club to be sponsored by a PV manufacturer, when in 2011 it signed a two-year deal, later extended, with panel maker Canadian Solar.

Arsenal inked a sponsorship deal with solar-sourcing supplier Octopus in 2016.  Octopus’ 3MW Kraken flex storage system installed at the ground can run the Emirates for the 2hour duration of a match.

North London rivals Spurs have 75 square metres of PV at their training centre at Enfield.

Among Solarwatt’s roster of sporting celebrities for publicity purposes is Francesco Friedrich, world champion and captain of  Germany’s 2- and 4-man Olympic bobsleigh team. Eco-advocate Friedrich designed the manufacturer’s kit into his self-built home.


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