Under the watchful eye of Peter Wearne, the MCC’s general manager of facilities, installation of the panels began last month, and will soon be used to help run the water recycling facility, with excess electricity then transferred to lighting and power in other areas of the venue.
“We want to ensure we use all the power that’s generated from the solar panels. As we have such a massive base load ourselves, we don’t want to push any excess electricity generated back into the grid,” Wearne said.
“Over the past 10 years, the MCG has been on a journey of marked sustainability improvements, from water consumption and waste management, to energy efficiency and carbon emissions.”
The venue’s operations team can track energy usage in real time, meaning it will be able to check on what is being generated by the solar panels, thereby managing the load during peak times.
The MCC also revealed it had formed a working party with fellow signatories Richmond Football Club and Tennis Australia – each based around the MCG – to help forge a more united stand. On a world scale, the NBA, International Olympic Committee, the New York Yankees and FIFA are also among the climate-action signatories.
Wearne has taken great pride in the venue’s environmental shift, including reducing electricity consumption by 30 per cent in part through swapping 25,000 light globes to LED fittings. Single-use plastics are being phased out and food waste is dehydrated and turned into soil food for Yarra Park.
This latest development comes as the replacement of flammable cladding dotted across the venue is set to begin early next year and finish in time for the start of the 2021 AFL home-and-away season. The Victorian Building Authority deemed the MCG safe after inspecting it in 2017.
“The MCG has high-level safety measures in place with 24/7 security, smoking bans, permanent sprinkler systems, fire safety plans and numerous access and exit points which is why the stadium continues to be safe for occupancy,” a MCC spokeswoman said.