The bright solar energy future that we all hoped for is here at last! Tennessee is the first state that has an airport that is 100% powered by clean energy. Airport officials hope that the airport would serve as an example to other states. That’s because going solar will protect the environment as well as save millions of dollars in decades to come.
President and CEO of this airport, Terry Hart, pointed out the importance of the solar farm in a press release. Going solar is significant for both the environment and the airport. He also stated that the airport’s transition would bring numerous benefits to the community.
The Solar Farm Project
The solar farm project at Chattanooga Airport in Tennessee began in 2010. The project had three phases, with the goal of covering 100% of the airport’s energy.
Today, the airport has a 2.74-megawatt farm, which is the size of sixteen football fields. The project also included the installation of a microgrid worth 10 million dollars. Thus, the system ensured that the airport can obtain power without being dependent on the grid when needed.
In addition, the airport has a special battery storage technology. This technology consists of on-site batteries that store energy. They ensure that the system continues to work even without the sunlight. With the help of these batteries, the whole system can work off the grid.
The power system can produce the amount of power that is sufficient to light thousands of light bulbs. That information was provided by the airport’s authority chairman Dan Jacobson. He also noted that this airport should serve as an example to others. A lot of other airports consume huge amounts of power during a year. So, going solar is definitely something that other states should consider.
A manager of smart grid development, Jim Glass, discussed this transition with the Energy News Network. He highlighted the importance of energy storage. Furthermore, he predicted that it would become even more popular in the following years. The interest will rise as costs continue to drop. Jim Glass also stated that they are still learning about what solar power can bring to the airport.
This Airport Isn’t The Only One That Uses Solar Energy
Chattanooga Airport is the first airport in the United States that is solar-powered. However, it isn’t the only one in the world. India was actually the first country to have an airport that uses only clean energy. Cochin Airport underwent the process of going solar in 2015. The transition to clean power cost the airport over nine million dollars.
Now, this airport hosts over twenty airlines and serves millions of passengers every year. The airport also showed the appreciation of the environment by planting sixty tons of vegetables under the solar panels in 2018.
There are other solar-powered airports around the world. Seymour Airport in Galapagos works by relying solely on sun and wind. What’s more, George Airport in South Africa uses the power from a solar farm that is close to the facility.
Going solar will save this airport millions in operating costs. Officials expect that solar energy brings back millions of dollars of investment over the next two decades. But, the amount of money that can be saved isn’t the only reason to switch to solar power. Protecting the environment by using clean energy is also worth considering. Thus, going solar is certainly something other airports should think about.
In case you don’t believe us, you can see for yourself! If you want to know how much energy the airport generates and saves, you can check out live statistics here.