A Modest Proposal: Masters 1000 Events and Solar Panels

NetJets is making strides to go carbon neutral – perhaps they could sponsor this effort

The professional tennis tours are fairly carbon intensive.  The miles of airline flights and driving (in the case of Murray’s 2009 road trip from Montreal to Cincinnati) add up to a lot of internal combustion engines being used by players and fans alike. Indoor courts use climate control technologies, and all tournaments are going to consume a fair amount of electricity for lighting, speakers, cash registers, and the ilk.

What if the company SolarCity entered into a sponsorship deal with the 4 North American Masters 1000 events (5 actual sites) to place solar panels on roofs at all of the stadiums, grand stands, and permanent buildings?  SolarCity is a Canadian company that currently operates in California, Ohio, and Florida so it is ideal for the North American Masters 1000 events.  If similar arrangements could be reached at the other 5 Masters 1000 events, tennis might begin to blunt the tip of its carbon footprint while also offering a public display of solar power for fans to consider for personal use.

The Cincinnati Reds Greens?

I can only speak of the Masters Cincinnati event with any precision. Masters Cincinnati is held in the exurb community of Mason, Ohio. Mason houses the Kings Island amusement park that dots its skyline with roller coaster hills and a 1/3 sized replica of the Eiffel Tower. Mason also has The Beach, a large water park, that puts water slides in the view of its residents and visitors.  A large solar array would only add to the whimsical somewhat random panorama of Mason, Ohio.  The Cincinnati Zoo already boasts the largest urban solar array in the US.  Cincinnati Parks have also installed many solar panels. Therefore, Cincinnati could become the solar capital of the midwest.

While this location is used for tennis programs during warm weather months, it is likely that the solar arrays would produce more electricity than the site uses except for the 1 1/2 weeks of qualifying and main draw play and the 1 week of professional volleyball held on these courts. Feeding zero emission electricity back into the grid for 48+ weeks per year would hopefully offset the electricity drawn from the grid during tennis and volleyball tournaments.

The Other 9 Locations Have Solar Options

Given Indian Wells and Miami’s locations in sun rich south Florida and southern California, solar panel projects ought to benefit from local incentives and become quite productive.  China leads the world in solar panel manufacturing so this project should not be hard for Shanghai to implement.  Montreal and Toronto would seem like natural areas for a Canadian company such as SolarCity to target.   The Vatican has a large solar array and Spain has significant solar capacity so Rome and Madrid can do this.  Would Paris want to trail Rome or Madrid?  Monte Carlo could use some charitable gaming money from special tables at casinos to pay for installing solar panels.  Therefore, installing solar panels at the 10 Masters 1000 sites should not be an insurmountable task.

How?

First, a company such as SolarCity would be ideal for sponsoring the 4 North American Masters 1000 events and possibly all 9 Masters 1000 events. Second, NetJets is seeking carbon neutrality while also being endorsed by Roger Federer. NetJets could and should fund a portion of this project because it would be a natural extension of their partnership with Roger Federer while aiding their quest to become carbon neutral. Also, Roger Federer being one of the most respected, trusted, and admired people on the planet (!) means that he can be an effective spokesperson for NetJets’ support of zero emission energy.

If the ATP and these events produce enough willpower, positive publicity and corporate support will likely follow.  The question is does such willpower exist.  If such willpower emerges, I suspect that the WTA, ITF, 500, and 250 level events may add a few panels, wind turbines, and/or geothermal units of their own.  The Masters 1000 events and ATP could knock over the first domino of an impressive cascade of increased renewable energy capacity at tennis tournaments across the globe.

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3 Comments

  1. I like it! And I agree about Mason, a few acres of solar panels wouldn’t really damage the overall aesthetic.

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