Solar-powered youth ice hockey rink: $6 million

The sun could soon be keeping a youth hockey rink icy cold.

A community in Falmouth, Mass. built a solar-powered ice rink for its youth hockey league. The rink, which costs $6 million, seats more than 700 people, and it’s heating, air conditioning and other power needs are powered by solar panels on the rooftops and carports around the arena.

It seems easier to find an outdoor pond in Massachusetts and play Winter Classic-style. Sadly, the median temperature in nearby Hyannis, Mass., for the winters months is 33.2 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. It’s just a shade to warm for a good ice rink.

So the community has gone inward and onward.

The Falmouth Ice Arena’s NHL-sized full sheet of ice will be powered primarily by an array of 3,302 solar panels on rooftops and carports (see photo).

The 790 kilowatt installation will combine with other components of the arena, including optimized heating and air conditioning, waste heat recovery systems, and high-efficiency lighting, to improve its sustainability, according to a news release from the Falmouth Hockey League, which will host a ribbon cutting for the arena this weekend.

The 49,000-square foot facility “is one of the most energy efficient ice arenas in the region and one of the only ice rinks in the region powered primarily by solar panels,” according to the release. “With all of its energy efficiency, and solar design elements, Falmouth Youth Hockey League, Inc sought to build a new arena that consumes half of the energy used by similar facilities. It was funded by private donors and supporters of the league.”

(A slight side note about hockey ice: It’s a lot harder than it seems. Gizmodo recently published a story about the work necessary to make ice ready for hockey players. It isn’t easy. It takes roughly four days, and there is quite a bit of science behind the perfect sheet of ice.)