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Detroit Lions fans gather at the gates to enter Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Steven King/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have plans to become the 12th NFL franchise to use solar technology, with installations planned at both Ford Field and their training facility in Allen Park.

The big picture: Over the past three years, solar installations in U.S. sports arenas have steadily increased, according to a new report released by the Solar Energy Industry Association. Their research shows that between the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB and NASCAR, the U.S. collectively has over 46 megawatts of installed solar capacity powering sports facilities, enough to power nearly 8,000 U.S. homes.

The Sacramento Kings lead the pack with 11 megawatts installed in and around the Golden 1 Center, the majority partially offsite at a 10-megawatt solar farm 40 miles away. Golden 1 Center is also the first arena worldwide to be 100% solar powered and has achieved LEED platinum status, the U.S. Green Buildings Council's highest designation. The second U.S. sports arena to achieve this distinction is Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz stadium, home to the Atlanta Falcons (NFL) and Atlanta United (MLS), which has over 4,000 solar panels.

Among sports leagues overall, the NFL leads with solar installations at 32% of arenas, not counting the planned Detroit Lions capacity, followed by the MLB and the NBA at 30% a piece. Boston, home to many world champions, has solar capacity in all major sports arenas.

Why it matters: In 2017, over 42 million people visited U.S. sports arenas. As renewable energy becomes more commonplace, seeing solar in use might provoke more consumers to consider renewable energy options at home.

Maggie Teliska is a technical specialist at Caldwell Intellectual Property Law, an intellectual property law firm. She is also a member of GLG, a platform connecting businesses with industry experts.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.