The National Cricket Centre in Queensland has installed a 285kW solar rooftop system as part of a collaboration with Cricket for Climate, launched in 2022 by Australian Test captain Pat Cummins.
The new facility, built at a cost of $323,000, was unveiled on Tuesday – ahead of the upcoming day-night Test at the Gabba in Brisbane and provide half its electricity needs and will save it $50,000 each year in energy costs, and is expected to deliver close to $1 million in savings over the 20-year lifespan of the project.
The National Cricket Centre is home to integrated outdoor and indoor training and playing facilities, located behind the famous Allan Border Oval – which boasts its own rooftop solar installation atop the Allan Border Oval Pavilion.
It includes a high-performance gym, 40 metre cricket training nets with analytics technology, a Pro-Batter, recovery pools, and access to unparalleled sports science.
Cricket Australia invested $226,000 for the project to add to the 60kW of solar panels supplied through Pat Cummins’ Cricket for Climate initiative.
“I’m proud Cricket Australia has partnered with Cricket for Climate as part of a broader ambition to drive positive change across cricket,” Cummins said.
Cummins, who became captain of the Australian Test cricket team in late-2021, has used his position to emphasise the need for cricketers to do more with their platform, and launched Cricket for Climate in February of 2022.
Since then, Cricket for Climate has helped to install 83kW of solar and batteries at five cricket clubs across New South Wales, at a value of over $150,000.
“We are also fortunate to have incredible industry partners such as Longi, Solis and OSW, who have generously donated 150kW of solar and inverter infrastructure across our projects to date,” he said.
“Through their generous donations, we’ve been able to install solar power to all club projects to date at zero cost to them. We’ve learned much in the initial phase of energy upgrades across five clubs, and that the engagement from these clubs and their councils has been amazing.”
Cricket for Climate is a player-led movement, and cricketers personally contribute financially to the installation of solar at their junior or grade clubs to the tune of between $3,000 to $5,000. So far, completed projects and their patrons include:
- Pat Cummins – Penrith Cricket Club (10kw Solar)
- Josh Hazelwood – Tamworth Cricket Club (10kW Solar)
- Moises Henriques – St George Cricket Club (13.3kW Solar)
- Rachel Haynes and Alyssa Healy – Sydney Cricket Club (40kW Solar and Battery)
- Nathan Lyon – Northern District Cricket Club (10kW Solar)
The solar systems are expected to deliver thousands of dollars a year in electricity cost savings and are estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 116 tonnes each year.
Cummins has repeatedly taken criticism for his decision to speak up for causes he believes are important, with critics and online commenters urging him to “stick to cricket”.
However, as many cricket fans would be aware, climate change – one of the causes Cummins has used his voice to champion – is already affecting cricket in negative ways.
Cricket is particularly affected when temperatures skyrocket – as has been repeatedly demonstrated when cricket has had to be cancelled due to extreme heat, or when cricketers suffer from dehydration, with temperatures out in the middle soaring to as much as 57.6°C during the 2018 Sydney Ashes Test.
Extreme temperatures also often lead to bushfires, which have themselves affected cricket play – such as when smoke from the Black Spring/Summer bushfires edged towards stopping play in Australia’s 3rd test against NZ at the SCG in January 2020, or when the Big Bash League (BBL) was forced to cancel a match in 2019 between the Sydney Thunder and Adelaide Strikers mid-play in Canberra due to bushfire smoke – the latter of which led to former Australian Test player Peter Siddle being treated for smoke inhalation.
“Cricket is a quintessential part of the Australian summer – however, our game is vulnerable to climate change,” said Cummins.
“We are looking to make further impact at scale as we look to plan a second phase of our energy upgrade program. We also want to look beyond solar and batteries for clubs and develop a blueprint for what a sustainable club of the future looks like.”