Fan power is set to literally light up the MCG in an Australian-first energy-sharing deal that will see customers send excess electricity to the iconic stadium.
Solar customers will be able to trade power collected from their Victorian homes for VIP experiences at the home of football under the futuristic pilot scheme.
Sports fans signing up to the initiative will score exclusive seats with butler service, private kick-to-kick on the hallowed turf or tours of the MCG and National Sports Museum.
It means energy generated on the rooftops of Victorian homes could help power everything from the iconic light towers to giant scoreboard screens at the people’s ground.
MCC chief executive Stuart Fox said it would also make operations at Australia’s greatest ground more environmentally friendly.
“These sustainability initiatives will not only significantly improve the stadium’s carbon footprint but will also ensure greater energy security at the MCG and lead the way with innovative energy solutions,’’ he said.
The MCC will partner with Energy Australia to power the ’G year-round under the scheme, to start early in 2018.
If 1500 Energy Australia customers shared their excess solar energy for a year, it would be enough to power every AFL match at the MCG for the 2018 season.
The opt-in system for Victorian customers is like nothing seen before in Australian sport.
Solar customers currently have access to a feed-in tariff where they are paid a small credit for any unused electricity that their solar system sends back into the grid.
The new system will allow unused electricity to instead be sent to the MCG in return for credit for the VIP experiences.
They will also include access to an exclusive viewing platform for AFL matches and the premium Jolimont Club suite.
Mr Fox said structural and heritage restrictions stopped the stadium, with an annual electricity demand equivalent to about 4000 average Australian homes, from installing its own solar panels.
“This energy-sharing program provides a welcome alternative and I certainly hope that passionate MCG fans will be keen to sign up to the trial to help power the ’G,’’ he said.
Energy Australia managing director Catherine Tanna said the move would “do more than just revolutionise energy at the people’s ground”.
“There’s great potential for applying what we learn and the technology we develop for the MCG to helping households and businesses across Victoria to use energy more efficiently,” she said.
“So they save money and help protect the environment.”