Forest Green claims world first with ADI partnership

English League Two football club Forest Green Rovers has announced details of what it claims to be the world’s most environmentally friendly stadium digital platform through a partnership with venue technology specialists ADI.

The platform will result in the installation of the world’s first renewable energy-powered digital perimeter system, as well as a new scoreboard at Forest Green’s Innocent New Lawn stadium.

Forest Green has also teamed up with electricity storage innovators Powervault on the project. Powervault’s battery storage system, and not the National Grid, will power the digital signage at the stadium. The storage system will be charged using Forest Green’s own solar and wind turbines, ensuring carbon-free operation of the equipment.

Forest Green said the project marks the first installation of a digital platform in League Two. ADI’s new MTD digiBOARD has been used for the installation, with the range designed to make the technology more accessible to clubs in the lower leagues.

The range is brand new for 2021 and has been completely redesigned from component level up with a host of new features designed to improve efficiency, increase resilience and make ongoing maintenance quicker, easier and more cost-effective.

Three Powervaults will be fitted under the Candriam East Stand and will be fully charged with renewable electricity from the club’s solar and wind turbines before a match. For the three hours on a match day when the ADI equipment is working, the Powervaults will discharge the stored energy to provide the electricity needed by the ADI LED panels.

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince said: “ADI have provided our new pitch-side and scoreboard LED screens – they’re going to be a key part of the new match-day experience as the season gets underway in just a month’s time.

“Alongside the traditional sponsor messaging we’ll be adding something new, unique content from our creative director 3D – which will mix climate change messaging with real-time data.”

Geraint Williams, chief executive of ADI, added: “We’re excited to be partnering with Forest Green Rovers on this ground-breaking deal which really demonstrates two key points: firstly that large-scale digital platforms such as this needn’t come with an associated large carbon footprint. And secondly, that this type of technology isn’t just for the teams in the Premier League and Championship.

“Because we design and manufacture all of our technology ourselves, we have far greater levels of control over our products. The consideration we’ve put into designing the latest evolution of digiBOARD has focused not just on bringing down the upfront cost and operating efficiencies, but in maximising value and minimising environmental impact throughout the lifetime of the technology.

“The sustainability ethos at Forest Green Rovers is something that really attracted us to this deal and we’re aiming to work with them and their partners to understand and implement further measures in which we can make our own business more sustainable.”

Last month, Forest Green launched a contest for naming rights to The New Lawn, which has been sponsored by drinks manufacturer Innocent since last year. Forest Green is looking to partner with an organisation working on environmental issues.

Forest Green has launched a number of eco-friendly initiatives and in December 2019 the club was granted outline planning permission for a new 5,000-seat stadium that will be built solely using wood.

Image: ADI