It is now commonplace for businesses and industries to seek out new and different technologies that provide or produce greater efficiencies and lower costs. This saves the company money, while increasing efficiencies of production and operation. It also adds to the overall profitability of that company. But there is one more benefit that is not just good for that company or industry. In fact, it is actually good for the entire world. That is “green power.”
Green power, or electrical power generation from renewable energy sources and technologies, provide the highest environmental benefit, and is produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources at a low to neutral carbon output.
Airports around the world are beginning to install large areas of solar panels to create electricity directly from the sun’s light. Minnesota’s own Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (KMSP) is known around the world for being a consistent leader in adopting new ideas and adapting to new technologies, like solar power. In fact, on December 2, 2015, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) at KMSP proudly announced and showed off the largest solar power array in the state of Minnesota.
In a supporting MAC news release, Dennis Probst, executive vice president for MAC, said “We wanted to build”… a system (sic), “that would have a significant impact, not only on our bottom line, but in reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to the airport’s use of carbon-based fuel sources.”
The array completely covers the rooftops of two huge parking ramps at KMSP. The ramps are located just east of the center of the airport and are surrounded on either side by airline concourses and acres of concrete aircraft ramp. These arrays currently contain 8,705 solar panels capable of supplying three (3) megawatts of clean power to Terminal 1, or approximately 20% of the power used in that terminal. This system will eliminate carbon emissions by nearly 7,000 metric tons per year, according to KMSP officials. This reduction in carbon emissions would be like planting approximately 47,000 trees!
One of the benefits of a solar power generation system is the immediate savings on power costs. Over a relatively small period of time a system like this one could produce more power than may be needed at the airport, which could then be sold to the traditional power companies and thus make a profit for the airport.
If you want to see a close-up view of the roof-top arrays, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxmnZDjAEME.
So now it should be clear that going green is a win-win for the community, the airport, and the environment.