Solar Panels at Infineon Raceway

Infinion Raceway is a year round racetrack located in Sonoma, California and is home to some very exciting, top-tier racing such as NASCAR and Indy. When we think of racing, we think of speed, power, adrenaline, crashes, technology, and a lot of noise. We don’t however think about green efficiency, solar panels, and the environment. Well, that may be about to change!

In association with Panasonic, Infinion Raceway has just installed over 1,600 solar panels to provide over 40% of the facilities power needs. The system privides 353 kilowatts of power for the entire facility. A very substantial amount.

Now I know there will be a lot of people out there who will mock this attempt at a raceway trying to be green. Yes, it can seem ironic for a sport, whose primary purpose is to use fuel for speed to install solar panels. I mean, isn’t auto-racing basically the opposite of green? Anyone who has ever been to a racetrack can attest to the smell of burnt rubber and gas fumes. Wouldn’t it be smarter just to get rid of racing?

Though I am definitely for clean, efficient, sustainable living, I say no! I think one of the biggest problems with the green movement today, is that it is an all or nothing thing. In order to be green we all need to be vegetarians, who wear hemp clothing, live in the forest, and ride a bicycle. While this may work for some people, it would be a drastic, almost unfathomable change for others.


Instead, I think we need to make smaller changes and improvements to the way we live. Changes that we continue. For example, not everyone can afford a full solar panel. But if each house and business bought just one solar panel, how much difference would that make? Many people might not give up meat, but they might stop eating meat once or twice a week. People can’t be expected to make drastic changes all at once. I mean, if we look at sports in general, they waste a lot of electricity, rubbers, plastics, etc. Should they all be eliminated as well? How about Disneyland?

I think it is the same thing for Infineon Raceway. Yes, motorsports are not the cleanest sport around. Driving a car a round as fast as it will go definitely uses a lot of gas. Driven at full speed, a Toyota Prius got lower gas mileage than a BMW M3 Sports Car. However, Infineon Raceway’s has made a substantial effort (more than a lot of other companies are doing) to make their operations more green. 1,600 solar panels is a lot of solar panels and a lot of power.

In addition, I would say that it’s not car enthusiasts who create the pollution problems. It’s the commuters and the populations of everyone combined driving their cars. How many people are driving large cars and SUVs to work? Removing the raceways isn’t going to solve our global problems. It should also be mentioned that auto racing does help manufactures make more efficient cars. A lot of what makes Hondas and Toyotas so good is from what they learned in F1.

So, while it does seem a little ironic that a raeway installed solar panels. I think that they should be applauded for their effort. Imagine if the rest of the companies around the world got half of their power from solar panels. Or imagine how much money you would be saving each month if you had half of your home powered by solar panels.

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