Infineon Raceway to use solar power in 2011

By Tripp Mickle
Special to the Sporting News NASCAR Service
(November 16, 2010)

Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., has signed a marketing partnership with Panasonic that will result in the installation of 1,652 solar panels at the track early next year.
The panels, which are developed by Panasonic’s subsidiary Sanyo, will provide the track with more than 350 kilowatts of electricity and make it the second track in NASCAR, after Pocono Raceway, to use solar-powered energy.
Panasonic will become the official solar partner of Infineon in a multiyear agreement valued in the low seven figures annually. It will receive signage and promotion at the track, and its executives plan to use the track as a showcase of the solar technology Panasonic can provide other facilities.
“Everyone that’s renovating their facility, we’re trying to get solar into the mix,” said Lesley Poch, group director of marketing at Panasonic Enterprise Solutions, a division of the company that specializes in LED boards, security systems and other facility technology. “This is the first big one.”
The solar panels will offset 35 percent of the power load for Infineon Raceway.
“This will be a significant part of what we do and the way we promote ourselves,” said Steve Page, president of Infineon Raceway. “Our environmental profile is something we’re proud of.”
The combination of the Panasonic marketing agreement, which offsets some of the initial costs, and an agreement with Bank of America, which is paying for the panels and leasing them to the track, makes the deal financially beneficial for Infineon.
“The track can go green and have it be affordable,” said Robert Zerner, business development manager at Panasonic Enterprise Solutions. “It’s savings from day one.”
The deal is part of Panasonic’s larger agreement with Speedway Motorsports Inc. It also is providing a giant LED board to Charlotte Motor Speedway and a new scoring tower at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Tripp Mickle is a reporter with SportsBusiness Journal.