Solar-powered soccer: Guam Football Association facilities use the sun to generate electricity

Every year, the Guam Football Association strives to find ways to improve the quality of its athletes and organization. The association's most recent idea, one engineered by GFA president Richard Lai, is to transform the National Training Center so it's no longer dependent on electricity from Guam's islandwide power grid. The organization aims to use solar energy via the installation of solar panels for its electricity needs.
The "Green Football Project" is the first of GFA's Income Generating Program projects with FIFA to promote renewable energy systems using state-of-the-art solar panel technologies to power the GFA national training center facility's parking lot areas, buildings and field lights.
This change, said Lai, will improve the training center's efficiency and the knowledge of both the athletes and the public regarding the importance of utilizing solar energy.

"Five years ago, we paid an average of $2,000 (for) a month's power bill, and it's gone up to as much as $6,000 a month now," said Lai. "I saw the majority of our development funding (going) to (paying) the power bill instead of (utilizing) our football development programs."
The Guam Football Association's field in Harmon.
One of the many reasons that public organizations and homes haven't switched to solar energy is its reputation of being a costly venture. But the money invested in a solar-energy system can be recouped in reduced power bills.

GFA's general secretary, Tino San Gil, said the National Training Center won't switch to solar energy entirely.

Saving money
"(Instead, we are) using the energy from the solar panels to effectively roll back the center's GPA meter -- in essence, we are giving back the energy to GPA that is used to power our facility, and in time, it is possible that GFA gives back more energy than the association will use," he said. "We are hoping that the notable difference will be the sizable reduction in electricity costs we incur."

Lai said it's hoped that the initiative will not only reduce power costs, but turn into money to benefit the association.

"As long as we produce more than we use, we will never have to pay (another) power bill. The saving of the power bill becomes income for GFA," Lai said. "So it's an income (generation) system to us (and) now we can use the money we normally have to use to pay for the power bill ... (for) our youth football development.