Turkish Football Club Reaps Solar Benefits
The Turkish Football Club, Galatasaray, has saved almost €400,000 from its solar roof, installed at the beginning of the year by Enerjisa. The solar array provides around 65% of the stadium’s electricity use, while the rest is sold back to the municipality.
Galatasaray is no stranger to success either, having been in the Guiness Book of World Records earlier this year for generating 4.3 megawatts of power. There is no stadium in the world with a larger solar power plant on its roof, and the unique shape of it was able to support the weight of 10,404 solar panels.
The title of “most powerful solar powered stadium” sends ripples beyond the sporting world, setting a shining example to businesses and venues alike to utilise what space you have for renewable energy. The savings delivered equate to the energy use of 2,000 houses, cutting 3,250 tonnes of carbon a year.
Usually, when you have new solar panels installed, it takes a while to start seeing any savings because of the initial cost. However, thanks to soaring energy costs and the rise of inflation in Istanbul (which rose to over 80%), the stadium started saving money only a couple of weeks after installation. This meant they’ve saved €385,000 between January to August as solar energy did not increase in price.
Turkey is incredibly reliant on foreign power, typically importing 45% of its gas from Russia. Because of this, they have been unable to put sanctions on them due to the invasion of Ukraine like other Western countries. If they had done so, it would have crippled their energy needs. However, Turkey’s renewable capacity grew by 50% over the last five years, which means it’s able to start looking at energy security for the long term.
The football club buys all the energy produced by the panels, which are owned by Enerjisa, and, since it doesn’t host games all the time, is able to sell unused energy to the municipality. The lighting system is only used for 150 hours a year, meaning the stadium receives more energy than it needs.
The club will own the panels after nine years, when the contract with Enerjisa will come to an end. Once this happens, it means they won’t have to pay anyone for the electricity they generate themselves. Domestic energy production in Turkey is on the increase, but the geopolitical implications aren’t as easily dismissed.