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DATE News (chronologically)
11/18/10
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Infineon Raceway partners with Panasonic  Infineon Raceway and Panasonic Corporation of North America, industry leader in integrated electronics and energy technologies,  have entered into a multi-year relationship, marking the launch of the Sonoma Valley facility’s comprehensive sustainability initiative, officials from both companies announced today.

The centerpiece of the Panasonic collaboration will be a major solar-electric-power-generating installation at the raceway with a capacity of more than 350 kilowatts, along with a new dual-sided, solar-powered LED display board along Highway 37.

Panasonic will assume a charter sponsor role in the raceway’s new green performance program in an agreement that runs through 2015.  That initiative will significantly enhance the facility’s existing sustainable practices in its daily business operations, while at the same time communicating a clear message to the raceway’s customer base about the performance benefits of green transportation technologies.

The cooperation with Panasonic also includes the renaming of the Infineon Raceway Technology Center, based in the paddock. It will now be known as the Panasonic Technology Center. 

A total of 1,652 of Panasonic’s Sanyo solar panels will be installed at the raceway.  Locations include: Turn 10 Sound Wall, Main Grandstand, Jim Russell Racing Drivers School Tech Center, Raceway Café and Infineon Raceway’s main offices. The solar power produced by the new system will provide for 41-percent of the raceway’s overall energy usage.

Much of the installation will be visible by the raceway’s patrons at its major events and will serve as a continuing reminder about sustainability. The installation, which will be handled by REC Solar, begins in January, 2011, and is expected to be completed by April.

The dual-sided, solar powered LED board created by Panasonic will replace the current board, which sits on Highway 37 outside the raceway. The new LED board will require far less power to operate, making it extremely energy-efficient.

“Infineon Raceway is uniquely positioned to take the message of sustainability to the horsepower-and-performance crowd who have not necessarily been the early adopters in this movement,” said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway. “This partnership with Panasonic is the first major building block in this new initiative and we’re delighted to welcome them as a founding partner.”

Jim Doyle, President of Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company, leads the Panasonic part of the project.

According to Doyle, “Panasonic is pleased to partner with Infineon Raceway in this very important initiative which represents the future of both our businesses.  Solar power is key to the Eco program being initiated by Panasonic in all efforts moving forward as we all look to sustainable and energy-saving solutions for day-to-day life. Infineon Raceway now sets an example for sustainability to its patrons, and Panasonic is proud to serve as the anchor for the program. We will continue to look for new ways to incorporate solar power and energy efficiency in future plans as we enter this long term relationship with Infineon Raceway.” 

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The raceway has long featured a number of off-track sustainable initiatives, including comprehensive recycling and water conservation programs such as waterless urinals. The raceway has been recognized by the State of California for its recycling efforts and received a green business award from Sonoma County.

Infineon Raceway is also taking this effort to the racetrack itself, hosting the first-ever electric motorcycle race on American soil in 2010 with the TTXGP U.S. Championships. The series will return next May as part of the raceway’s West Coast Moto Jam event. Infineon Raceway was also one of the first circuits in the country to employ a hybrid vehicle (Toyota Camry) as the pace car for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Tenants at the raceway’s industrial park have also embarked on sustainability with low-carbon race technologies.

Looking toward expansion, Page said the goal is to include low/no-carbon racing, like the TTXGP, as support features at each of their major events.  The raceway is also developing plans for a series of green performance summits, ultimately establishing the Sonoma facility as the hub for new low/no-carbon race technologies. 

“The first step has been to put our own house in order and this solar alliance with Panasonic marks a significant new step in our efforts to operate this business in a sustainable fashion,” Page said.  “Moving forward, our visibility in the performance automotive industry gives us a terrific platform to carry the message to a broader audience of racing enthusiasts.”

The raceway has also been home to more than 3,000 sheep since 2008, which help maintain the grasses and fire lanes around the facility. Moreover, the raceway works with Safety-Kleen to recycle used oil products at its NASCAR and NHRA events. Safety-Kleen refines more than 200,000 gallons of used motor oil each year from racing events and a total of 200,000,000 gallons of used motor oil from customers throughout North America.

Other current partners participating in the program also include Safety-Kleen and PG&E, which conducted a comprehensive energy audit of the raceway earlier this year.  The results revealed how Infineon Raceway is already very efficient in its energy use and identified lighting as a main area for improvement. Since then, the same lighting vendor that made efficiency improvements at AT&T Park in San Francisco has provided Infineon with several recommendations that the raceway is planning to implement.

“We applaud Infineon Raceway for its outstanding commitment to make its operations more energy efficient,” said Steven Malnight, vice president of integrated demand side management for PG&E.  “PG&E is dedicated to helping all of our customers become more sustainable through a number of different programs, rebates and incentives that reward actions taken to save energy and install renewable power.”

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