SAN FRANCISCO -- The port walk outside of AT&T Park is known for McCovey Cove and the many splash hits from Barry Bonds. The 2007 season will feature something new at the port walk, as the Giants and Pacific Gas and Electric announced on Wednesday that 590 solar panels will be placed on the outside of the stadium.
AT&T Park will be the first in Major League Baseball with solar panels and will bring about 120 kilowatts of energy for PG&E customers in the City and County of San Francisco.
"The port walk is a signature location of the ballpark," said Peter Magowan, Giants president and managing general partner. "We will showcase solar power in one of the most visible locations on the waterfront. In turn, we hope to send a message to our fans, television viewers and the greater community about the importance of using energy wisely and efficiently.
Magowan was a part of a press conference on Wednesday that also featured PG&E CEO Tom King, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Giants executive vice president Laurence Baer. The conference was set up on the port walk underneath two large solar panels and happened to take place during a sunny day in the city.
The 590 solar panels are about the same as 40 home roof systems and will be built above the gates on the back of the stadium near McCovey Cove. Other panels will be placed on the roof near the front of the stadium by the Acme Chophouse restaurant. The installation will start in April and be finished in about two months.
King estimated that the project will cost between $1 million to $1.5 million. King said that the cost for the project will be paid by PG&E customers and that the dollar amount will not be very high.
"It's a $1 million to $1.5 million project that is going out to 15 million people," King said after the press conference. "So it's way out into the decimal points of what a customer is going to see [on their bill]. Our customers are telling us this is what they want to see."
King said that the 120 kilowatts of power generated will be connected into San Francisco's power grid and that is why the bill, which will show up at homes between 2009 or 2010, will be paid by the consumers.
The power created by the panels is enough to power the new scoreboard at AT&T Park for a year, and when translated to layman terms, King said that equates to about a handful of homes.
The placement of the project and the announcement of the project comes at a very good time for the Giants, who will be hosting this year's All-Star Game and feature a star player in Bonds that is chasing one of the most famous records in sports.
"What we provide here gives the chance to help publicize a very different story," Magowan said after the press conference. "I think it is good PR for the concept of solar energy."
AT&T Park was designed to save energy from the start by using fluorescent lighting, motion sensor lighting and energy management systems. The new scoreboard this year is said to use 78 percent less energy than the old scoreboard. The Giants were also the first Major League team to bring wireless internet to the ballpark. In addition, PG&E and the Giants are starting a five-year public awareness campaign to educate and encourage Giants fans to use energy responsibly.
"This was the right thing to do," McGowan said. "It does give the Giants a chance when they get on TV to tell a story that people may not have thought about."
Ryan Quinn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.