Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sunny days at AFC Bournemouth - something we should make more use of?

I was looking at the teams in the Championship and wondering how well equipped AFCB is in terms of its resources and one of the facilities we have not got yet is undersoil heating. You may say that being based in the south this does not matter so much. Although we do sometimes lose the odd game during the season due to climatic reasons. Southampton was the only Premier League team not to have undersoil heating in 2012-13.

The reason for looking at this is that televised games will attract lucrative revenue for AFCB in the Championship but when a fixture is cancelled those TV deals will be scuppered for that match when the game does not go ahead. The Saints risked losing £485,000 of Sky's money for TV viewing last season, trying to get their match on after heavy snow falls. I doubt we would lose quite so much in the Championship, but still a sizeable amount of revenue could be lost.

I then started to think why can't clubs generate their own electricity by installing solar panels on their football stand roofs and could it supplement electricity to power undersoil heating? When undersoil heating is not needed the power could go to the national grid to earn the club revenue. A mad idea?

I did some research to see if any sports facilities had installed solar panels on their stand roofs in the UK. It seems that Northampton Saints are equipping their Burrda stadium with 200 panels, while Saracens rugby club and Barnsley football club have invested in solar panels. Barnsley installed their panels in 2011 at a cost of £1 million and forecast that they would reduce their electricity bill by half. 
Apparently non-league Forest Green Rovers has also fitted its New Lawn ground with 180 solar panels in an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint. Dartford  FC has also put solar panels in its 2006 built stadium to serve community changing areas.

Sheffield Wednesday announced plans for solar panels back in 2009, but it was included in a total ground revamp which has not happened yet. 
Being in the south of England I would expect Bournemouth to have one of the highest levels of sunshine in the UK.

What I did not see is any ground that used solar panels to provide electricity for undersoil heating systems. Most under-soil systems seem to use boilers run off natural gas, diesel or LPG. Perhaps there is just not enough power to be generated by solar panels to supplement undersoil heating systems and perhaps the temperature is easier to regulate with gas or oil.

But then I came across an article on Blackburn Rovers who are looking at a solar powered undersoil heating system for its training picthes with a 40% EEC grant towards the costs. 

Looking on the internet, it was suggested that an undersoil heating system at Peterborough's ground would cost £0.7 million in 2012 and for them it just was not worth the investment when they only have three delayed matches on average a season.

So perhaps under-soil heating is not worth it at Dean Court, even perhaps if we made the Premiership. 
May be it's not such great value to heat the pitch with the aid of sunlight if your weather is fairly good, but solar panels could provide some extra income depending on what the tariff rates are now. The government had more favourable rates a few years ago and perhaps needs to think about making it easier for company's to invest in more eco-friendly grounds.


  1. Trouble with solar panels is that the gov have cut the feed back tariff, so estimated savings from 2011 wide of the mark now..

  2. Yes, and that is why I ended the post saying the government should do more to encourage the eco-friendly route.

  3. Maybe it is not done because undersoil heating is needed in the winter when it is often overcast and the energy produced may not be enough to do the job.