Earth Day is an annual opportunity for people to come together worldwide and demonstrate their support for environmental protection. We here at MotorsportReg racked our brains to find a link between motorsports and Earth Day. We took a quick look down our customer list and BINGO! We found a great story right here in our own back yard, Thunderhill Raceway Park.
Thunderhill Raceway Park is a 2.86 miles race track located in Willows, California, and home of the San Francisco Region of the Sports Car Club of America [SCCA]. The track hosts everything from street cars and motorcycles, to all forms of racing, karting, and club events, plus film shoots and testing by professionals for R&D purposes. Thunderhill Park is probably best known for hosting the annual National Auto Sport Association [NASA] 25 Hours of Thunderhill event. And 2013 marks their 20th anniversary! They have many special events planned throughout the year to celebrate this momentous occasion.
But what really makes Thunderhill Park special, and a great facility to highlight on Earth Day, is their commitment to alternative energy. Thunderhill Park is regarded as a leader in many areas of alternate energy applications not only from its own efforts but as a result of partnering with track users such as Tesla, Brammo and other developers of electric vehicles. “We are committed to the future,” noted Stuart Seitz resident generation “Y” executive, “and we are constantly on the lookout for ways to utilize Thunderhill Park for the advancement of technology and environmental causes.”
The track recently completed the installation of 314 solar panels to add to their already diverse energy program which brought the facility to a point nearing grid-neutral status when combined with the track’s three wind generators and a pending solar field on 133 acres of property north of the track. Thunderhill Park will now have three separate systems connected to PG&E services producing a kilowatt rating of 94,200 watts. The 314 monocrystalline solar panels, all manufactured in the USA, will produce 136,983 kilowatt hours annually using eleven 7,000 watt DC to AC power inverters. The annual savings projected for the raceway is $24,000. The 25 year planning model for the installation shows a projected energy savings of $901,672. The annual greenhouse gas reduction from the system’s use would cancel out the consumption of 11,000 gallons of gasoline, energy used by 14.5 homes over a year, as well as “carbon” sequestered by 2,478 tree seedlings grown for ten years or 79.2 acres of US forests. Now that’s impressive!
Let’s face it. Most people feel the motorsports industry is a direct enemy of the environment. How many of you have heard that those in the sport are just a bunch of “gas-guzzling, tire-burning dare devils?” In fact, motorsports is an excellent marketing vehicle to create greater awareness to a large audience. Thunderhill Park has made it their mission to take a leadership role and show others in the industry that they can and should be developing and using alternative energy resources which can benefit everyone.
Now who said motorsports is all bad for the environment?