With a little help from the sun, gone are the days of scoreboard flip charts and stopwatches at some of NC State’s most popular recreational fields.
In November, University Recreation installed two solar-powered scoreboards in the Method Road Field Complex, where Wolfpack club and intramural sports teams host approximately 250 games and 500 practices each year.
“Teams had been asking for scoreboards for a while,” said Ben Strunk, University Recreation’s assistant director of sports programs.
Previously, teams used small flip scoreboards alongside the field. Game time had to be communicated either by a timekeeper yelling from the sidelines or a referee on the field.
“It created a challenging experience for athletes, coaches, game officials and spectators, who often could not see the flip scoreboard from their location or hear the person announcing the time,” Strunk said.
As University Recreation explored new digital scoreboards, leaders learned that installation required nearly $15,000 of time-intensive trenching through the fields to connect to the nearest electricity source.
“We started looking into the solar option,” Strunk said. “Solar was much cheaper because the scoreboard is completely grid-free. This means no wires, lines or electric bills are needed for installation or operating the units.”
A grant from NC State’s Sustainability Fund helped fund the scoreboards, which will save an estimated $400 annually in avoided electricity costs. The solar kit’s batteries store energy so that the scoreboards can be used on cloudy days, as well as evenings.
Not only are scoreboards providing an improved athlete and spectator experience, Strunk said NC State club sport teams are now better positioned to win hosting rights for tournaments, which create vital revenue for teams.
“The scoreboards provide clear game information to everyone in the complex from any angle,” Strunk said. “They do wonders for the experience.”