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A Solar Powered Super Bowl XLVII Celebration in New Orleans

What do Brad Pitt, Super Bowl XLVII, and the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium have in common? All are helping solar power to become more mainstream and appear under a national spotlight...

On the eve of Super Bowl XLVII, the Super Bowl Host Committee held its premier community initiative, Super Saturday of Service, in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity and other local organizations. Super Saturday of Service will result in $2 million of renovation and beautification, including a solar-powered canopy. This solar powered structure will be used to power lighting and other services, and will result in the state of Louisiana’s first net-zero public facility.

Solar panels from the project will provide 11 kilowatts (kW) of power, and reduce CO2 emissions in the area by more than 500,000 pounds over the next 25 years. Employees from all companies involved participated in the Super Saturday volunteering efforts and will be involved with subsequent efforts to raise awareness about solar power.

The solar modules used are produced less than 100 miles away in a state-of-the-art factory in Hattiesburg, MS, the only solar products manufactured locally in the Gulf Coast region (read more about the American made solar panels here).

“We are pleased to work with the City of New Orleans, the NFL, and the Super Bowl Host Committee to make this big weekend cleaner using local renewable power,” said Jeffrey Cantin, President of Solar Alternatives. “We are excited to showcase Stion [the solar manufacturer]’s unique technology to the millions who will be watching worldwide.”

Showcasing the potential of solar power on such a large, national stage must be working. A recent report from The Solar Foundationand the third annual National Solar Jobs Census report found that the U.S. solar industry currently employs 119,016 Americans. This figure represents the addition of 13,872 new solar workers and a 13.2 percent employment growth rate over the past 12 months. Since 2010, employment in the U.S. solar industry has grown 27 percent – eight times faster than the overall economy during the same period, in which, employment grew by 3.2 percent. 1 in 230 jobs created nationally over the last year were created in the solar industry.

But the city of New Orleans is no stranger to the overwhelmingly positive benefits of solar power.

After Hurricane Katrina left more than 1 million homes damaged and without power in 2005, actor Brad Pitt was compelled to set up the Make It Right Foundation New Orleans, which serves to rebuild 150 safe, energy-efficient and affordable homes for families from New Orleans Lower 9th Ward who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina.

Today, Make It Right is working in New Orleans, Newark and Kansas City with the goal of helping make green homes affordable for working families across the country.

The NFL has been making the Super Bowl more “green” each year for the past 18 years. Last year, Green Mountain Energy Company, the nation’s longest serving retailer of green power, was selected to supply 15,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset greenhouse gas emissions associated with the electricity used at the major NFL venues. These included Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center, and all four of the major NFL hotels.

NRG Energy, a large American energy company based out of New Jersey, is working with a number of NFL teams to help stadiums around the country incorporate solar energy into their design as a way of becoming more sustainable. NRG is working with the San Francisco 49ers, who are meeting the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday’s big game, to help make their new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. energy efficient and solar powered.

NRG has also partnered with a school in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans to showcase solar energy at this year’s Super Bowl.

Solar Energy USA is proud to be Georgia's largest residential solar provider.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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