On Thursday, Sacramento International Airport officials and community representatives celebrated the opening of a new solar facility that is expected to provide more than 30% of the California airport’s electricity.
According to a press release, the airport had no costs for construction. The capital investment was provided by NRG, which financed construction by Borrego Solar. NRG owns and operates the facility and will sell electricity to Sacramento International Airport at a reduced rate under a power purchase agreement (PPA). Projected cost savings from the project are an average of $850,000 annually throughout the 25-year term of the PPA.
The 7.9 MW solar farm consists of a 15-acre east site on Aviation Drive and a 20-acre site north of the airport’s runway. The facility is comprised of more than 23,000 LG solar panels mounted on NEXTracker racking that tracks the sun’s path from east to west over the course of the day, maximizing efficiency and energy production.
According to the release, the electricity generated by the facility is enough to power 1,600 homes a year.
The project has been producing energy since Nov. 30, and Thursday’s event, which took place on a crisp, sunny Sacramento morning, was a celebration of months of hard work and collaboration.
“This is an exciting development for the Sacramento International Airport. By partnering with a private company, we have a source of clean, renewable energy that will save money and furthers our commitment to sustainable practices,” said John Wheat, director of airports for the Sacramento County Department of Airports. “It’s truly a win-win scenario.”
“Over 10 million travelers fly in and out of Sacramento Airport each year who will now be able to see the value of solar at work and witness the airport’s commitment to clean, reliable, renewable energy,” said Kevin Prince, senior director of business development for NRG Renewables. “The airport and county had the vision to embrace solar technology. With this system now operational, we can offset one-third of the airport’s annual load and, on certain days like today, offset the entire electricity needs of the airport.”
Borrego Solar Systems, a national developer, designer, installer and operator of commercial solar and energy storage systems, developed and built the arrays.
“By adopting solar, Sacramento Airport has not only made a prudent financial decision, but has also taken action to reduce its environmental impact. The solar energy produced over the life of the system will offset nearly 289,000 metric tons of harmful carbon dioxide equivalents – this is the same amount that would be offset by taking nearly 62,000 cars off the road,” said Jackie Pitera, a senior member of Borrego Solar’s project development team.
“I want to congratulate airport leadership on a successful project and working with our operations team and NRG to get a solar project up and running in just six months of construction.”
Photos courtesy of the Sacramento International Airport’s social media pages