Airport solar: from Sea to Shining Sea
The open skies at airfield perimeters bring renewable, carbon-free energy to solar farms at over 15 US airports. That’s only a fraction of the airport solar panels generating power on the rooftops of hangars, parking garages, and terminals. Panels have also been installed on canopies above walkways and parking spaces.
Among the many airports using solar energy, five have recently announced milestones, records, or significant upgrades:
Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (CHA)
After the recent completion of its solar farm, Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport claimed the honor of becoming the first US airfield that is powered by 100% solar energy.
The project began in 2010 with 3,948 solar panels that produced 1.0 MW. A 3,542-panel expansion in 2013 boosted that to 2.1 MW. Today, 2.6 MW are expected to be power the entire airport for up to 40 years.
Evansville Regional Airport (EVV)
Early next year, almost 400 parking spaces will be covered by the largest solar canopy in the US. The installation will generate 1.3 MW of power, estimated to be half of the power needed at the Evansville Regional Airport terminal.
Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT)
The 11,700 solar panels at installed on 9.5 acres at Fresno Yosemite International Airport produce 4.2 MW of electricity. Over 25 years, that output is estimated to save $19 million.
Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
The first phase of the solar farm at Indianapolis International Airport was constructed in 2013. It contained more than 44,000 panels.
Today, 76,000 solar panels on 151 acres provide 31.7 MW, the equivalent of powering 3,200 average-sized homes.
Sonoma County Airport (STS)
A solar panel canopy system was recently announced for the Charles M. Schultz – Sonoma County Airport. The $3.5 canopy will supply power for all of the airport’s needs, not including needs of tenants and concessionaires.
A local power company funded the solar canopy which will collect about 13 cents per kilowatt hour for the generated energy. That rate should save the airport about $3.1 million within the 20-year agreement. After five years, the airport may purchase the solar installation. It also has the option to renew the agreement at 20 years.