SANDY, Utah -- Rio Tinto Stadium is going green and installing more than 6,000 new solar panels.
The move is part of a cooperative effort between the stadium, Rocky Mountain Power and Auric Solar.
Representatives with Auric Solar said the project will offset about 73 percent of the stadium's power needs, which they said is the largest offset for any professional sports stadium in North America.
The project cost a total of $6 million, but Auric Solar says the investment is worth it.
“They’ll actually see a return within the first couple of years and be able to put a lot of that money back in the team and the venue,” said Jess Phillips, co-founder of Auric Solar.
He added, “This system does about, is the equivalent of planting about 45,000 trees every year, and we anticipate the system, not only is that a 25-year warranty, but we believe it will last for about 50 years or more.”
Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen said he's proud be a part of the eco-friendly project.
“This is the outcome of a lot of Utah labor, engineering, and thinking: That we now get to offset 73 percent of all our power use here,” he said. “We don’t have to go light another coal fire plant in southern Utah.”
More than 90 percent of the solar panels are on new covered parking structures, with the rest on the rooftops of concessions and office buildings.