Airports are a great place for solar panels, according to research published by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2010.
Airport operational costs can now be decreased with confidence thanks to the development of solar technology. In terms of the environment, solar energy demonstrates a dedication to environmental care, particularly when the panels are visible to passing motorists.
Cleaner air and fewer greenhouse emissions that contribute to climate change are two of the environmental advantages. Utilizing solar energy also promotes the growth of small businesses and American energy independence.
According to a 2020 study by Serena Kim of the University of Colorado Denver, 20% of airports in the United States had some sort of solar component installed in their electrical system. With 42,614 solar panels covering 56 acres, Denver International Airport has grown to be one of the nation’s largest solar installations.
One of the first airports to enter the solar field was Denver’s. According to the company’s website, four photovoltaic arrays with a combined 10 megawatts of power could potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 12,000 metric tonnes annually.
Another early adopter was Indianapolis International Airport, whose IND Solar Farm is the largest solar farm on airport property in the world and generates 36.1 million kilowatt hours annually, enough to power 3,650 houses.
The largest airport in New York City, JFK, will have more than 13,000 solar panels added by 2026, according to a new analysis from Canary Media. By 2040, New York State hopes to generate all of its electricity from sustainable sources. These solar panels will aid in that effort.
The backup electricity provided by the panels will help the airport maintain power during blackouts and possibly replace the polluting diesel engines that currently operate when power is lost.
The two other airports in the New York area feature solar panels as well. Over the new parking garage at the recently renovated LaGuardia airport, more than 3,500 solar panels have been put in.
The airports in the NYC area will generate 1.7 million kilowatt hours of clean, renewable energy annually, according to the Port Authority of NY and NJ, which is in charge of managing all of the area’s airports. A 4-megawatt solar canopy has also been built over the roof of the brand-new parking garage at the even more recent Terminal A at the Newark Liberty International Airport.
According to Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, “This initiative will cut dependence on polluting fossil fuels, supply the airport and its thousands of daily visitors with clean and renewable energy, and support the agency’s and New York’s net-zero emissions goals.”
The Port Authority was the first American transportation organization to endorse the 2050 net-zero emissions goals set forth by the Biden administration.
While not supported by federal subsidies, these projects in and around New York City complement the White House’s Airport Terminals Program, which gives $1 billion annually to improve airports in a number of ways, including by making them more energy efficient. Here is a summary of the funding for 2022 and how airports will use the grants they have been awarded.
The American military has been actively implementing solar energy at bases across the nation in recent years, with a 56,000-panel array at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico being one example.
And in 2010, 105 acres of solar panels were built at the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, with rooftop panels being added subsequently. At California’s Edwards Air Force Base, an environmental impact study was approved in 2020 to allow for the construction of a solar array.
The 650 megawatts of power generated by this 4,000-acre array would be used to run the state’s residences. By 2025, the Department of Defense must reach a 25% renewable energy goal. Many of the programs at military stations across the nation are described in this article from EnerG.
The microgrid at the Redwood Coast Airport in California, which has a 2.2 MW photovoltaic array, was finished in June 2022.
In the lagoon next to Miami International Airport, there is a floating solar array. Oakland International Airport is now purchasing green energy from a solar farm nearby, even though it is not located at the airport itself. The Port of Oakland now gets 30% of its energy from solar sources.
Read More: Step Aboard the Solar-Powered ‘Tesla on the Water’.
Two other airports in the state, Dubuque Regional Airfield, and Washington Municipal Airport, as well as an airport in Iowa City, have committed to installing solar panels. Each is utilizing funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act).
In order to build a huge farm with 96,000 solar panels, Kansas City is using a novel strategy in which the electricity produced at the airport site will be sent to the city.
Against the recommendations of environmental organizations, county supervisors in Virginia recently changed the zoning for Dulles International Airport from residential to industrial.
Read More: A “Groundbreaking” Report Indicates the Possibility of Greener Jobs for Former Fossil Fuel Employees.
This suggests that a private firm can probably proceed with the removal of 100 acres of old-growth forest, marshes, and switchyard in order to create room for the panels, battery system, and substation.
Solar panels are currently operational and projected to save Quincy Regional Airport in Illinois $60,000 annually.
Therefore, airports are gradually transitioning to a green energy future alongside other renewable sources like wind energy, which is employed at the Dallas-Fort Worth location.