Aviation is crossing new milestones with the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport in Tennessee becoming the first airfield in the United States to be run on 100% solar power.
The project started in 2012 with the goal of generating all the power the airport needed from the installation of a 12-acre, solar farm with a 2.64-megawatt capacity. A total of 10,000 solar panels produce renewable energy to power the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport facility. The project was completed with approximately $5million of funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is expected to be earned back in under 20 years.
The airport’s solar farm produces more energy than required by the airport to operate the facility, so they sell the additional electricity produced to the regional utility grid and buy back part of the renewable energy to supply their own requirements.
Terry Hart, President and CEO of the Chattanooga Airport said that this project would increase the economic efficiency of the airport. The Tennessee airport is thrilled to be cutting down its impact on the environment and hopes more airports around the country can do the same to reduce their environmental footprint.
The success of the project is expected to inspire similar endeavours nation-wide. In fact, solar grids are already in place at Denver International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport. In the global context, Chattanooga Airport joins the bandwagon with George Airport (South Africa), Seymour Airport (The Galapagos), and Cochin International Airport (India).