One of the oldest ballparks in professional baseball is now being partially powered by the latest in solar technology.
The Quad-Cities River Bandits unveiled a 58-panel solar array on Wednesday, a collection of panels installed on the roof of Modern Woodmen Park that is producing enough energy to power the facility’s LED outfield lights.
“We’re proud that we have an opportunity to do our part in reducing our carbon footprint and reduce our energy costs in an innovative way,’’ River Bandits owner Dave Heller said.
The Midwest League club partnered with Century Electric and Solar of Eldridge on the project which is already generating power from its location along the third base line at the Davenport ballpark which first opened its gates in 1931.
The field of small solar panels sits on the rooftop of the Champions Club located on the east end of the suite level.
The panels were game tested last weekend, when a foul ball broke one of the panels during the River Bandits’ most recent home series.
Heller said the panel has been replaced and netting that will not noticeably reduce the amount of sun being collected has been ordered to protect them in the future.
“Over the last five years, we’ve seen good growth in the number of commercial and industrial facilities using solar as well as an increase in residential customers,’’ said Keith Sheldon, co-owner of Century Electric and Solar.
“There have been federal tax credits and state incentives available and in a facility like this, it is a good opportunity for people to see what solar can do.’’
A monitor calculating the power produced and cost savings at Modern Woodmen Park will be installed on the concourse level soon, providing fans a way to see how the solar array benefits the facility.
Modern Woodmen Park is the first municipal-owned facility in Davenport to install solar panels and the project was funded privately without use of city or state money.
“As was the case with the installation of LED field lights, we feel like this project was the right thing to do,’’ Heller said. “We are lowering energy consumption, helping the environment and the River Bandits are once again leading our industry toward a greener future.’’
In 2017, the River Bandits’ ballpark became the first at the Class A level nationally and one of the first three in all of minor-league baseball to install LED lights.
In addition to producing less glare and light pollution, the LED lighting project reduced the team’s energy consumption by 40 percent. The addition of the solar array is expected to reduce those costs even further.
“That provides us with a way to hold the line on ticket prices, which is a benefit to all the fans,’’ Heller said.