San Francisco, California [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Japanese electronics giant Sharp sponsors more than two dozen professional sports teams, and now the company’s solar division is getting in on the action as a way to build mainstream interest in solar energy.Beginning with this year’s Major League Baseball season, Sharp Solar will promote solar energy through a partnership and sponsorship of the San Francisco Giants Baseball Club. The arrangement will include prominent signs and most importantly, a permanent, solar electric demonstration project at SBC Park, the ball club’s home field in San Francisco. Complementing a highly visible Sharp Solar sign in left-center field, Sharp will install a 4.5 kW, grid-connected solar energy system on the roof adjacent to the Giants offices at SBC Park. The system will consist of 27 167-watt Sharp solar modules and is typical of the kind of system used on a standard California residence. Both the timing and geographic location were chosen to best support a marketing push for solar. California, which already represents roughly 80 percent of the U.S. solar market, is one of the best markets for new solar projects. Governor Arnold Governor Schwarzenegger recently announced a renewed push to pass a comprehensive solar bill that could further expand the market. “Led by California, more and more states are creating diversified energy portfolios, and this has contributed to the growth of a true domestic solar energy industry,” said Toshihiko Fujimoto, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Sharp Electronics Corporation. “With the recent announcement of California’s ‘one million solar roofs initiative, the timing is right to raise awareness of solar through an association with a major, professional sports franchise.” The system’s electrical output will be monitored by a multi-media kiosk located in the left field concourse. Using a touch-screen display, fans can access information about the system, learn how solar energy works and its benefits and request additional information about solar from Sharp. Sharp sponsorship of the “Crowd Noise Meter” at selected games and other promotional programs will be developed to draw attention to the stadium’s solar energy system. The multi-year nature of the sponsorship will enable Sharp and the Giants to discuss development of a solar energy system designed to meet more of the ballpark’s energy requirements in the future. “The Sharp-Giants partnership lets the public know that the choice for reliable, clean, affordable solar power is a home run they can hit today,” said Rhone Resch, president of the national Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).