Super Bowl 2024 to be powered by Nevada desert solar farm, marking a historic green milestone

Super Bowl 2024 is setting the stage not just for a showdown between top NFL teams, but also for a major environmental milestone. This year, the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas will host a Super Bowl powered entirely by renewable energy — a first in the history of the event.

The seemingly desolate area of the Nevada desert is the source of the green energy used to power the game. 

A vast solar farm with over 621,000 panels shimmers like a mirage but with the capability to power close to 60,000 residential customers — or one very big stadium.

The Las Vegas Raiders, which call Allegiant Stadium home, have entered into a 25-year agreement to buy power from this new solar installation owned by NV Energy.

CEO Doug Cannon said that the solar installation would supply more than 10 megawatts of power for the Super Bowl. This amount of energy is roughly equivalent to the consumption of 46,000 homes.

Sustainability was front of mind as the stadium was being constructed, according to Raiders President Sandra Douglass Morgan.

The stadium’s roof is made of a sustainable plastic material that allows in about 10% of daylight but blocks all solar heat, so it takes less energy to cool the building. The grass field is moved outdoors on a rail system to get natural sunlight rather than using energy-intensive growing lights. And everything from grass clippings to food scraps and cigarette butts are composted or converted into other forms of energy.

“When you come to a game you may be thinking about just focusing on the game but when they hear that and know that we’re being conscious of our environmental footprint, hopefully that guest will leave and have that same mindset when they go back home,” said Morgan.

The Super Bowl’s green energy push was highlighted during a visit from U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, who inspected the stadium’s main electrical entry room.

“People sometimes get nervous about renewable power because they’re not sure if it’s going to be reliable. The fact that renewable power can power a facility like this reliably should speak volumes about what could happen in other communities,” Granholm said.

The solar farm not only powers the current needs but also houses massive batteries to store renewable energy, ensuring a five-hour power supply even when the sun isn’t shining. This technology is seen as a key component in transitioning the U.S. power grid toward 100% clean electricity by 2035, a goal set by President Biden.

Despite the focus on environmental sustainability, the Super Bowl’s entertainment, including a halftime show featuring performer Usher, will not be compromised.

“We have enough power for Usher and all of his lights and all the fanfare that’ll be there,” said Cannon. 

Watch the Super Bowl on your local CBS station, on Nickelodeon and streaming on Paramount+ on Sunday, Feb. 11.

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Ben Tracy is CBS News’ senior national and environmental correspondent based in Los Angeles. He reports for all CBS News platforms, including the “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell,” “CBS Mornings” and “CBS Sunday Morning.”

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