MSP Airport Installs State’s Largest Solar Array
When it comes to energy efficiency, the parking structures at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s Terminal 1-Lindbergh wing have gone above and beyond.
A “first-of-its-kind” airport project—deemed the largest solar generation site in Minnesota—has completed construction and will generate close to 20 percent of the airport’s total peak power capacity. By installing a 3 million-watt solar installation on the top deck of two Lindbergh parking structures, the project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6,813 metric tons each year—equivalent to taking 1,434 vehicles off the road annually.
Renewable energy company Ameresco, which holds offices in Eden Prairie, developed the solar infrastructure and also converted more than 7,700 of the parking structures’ metal halide light fixtures to energy-saving LED technology.
“The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) has worked for decades to operate Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as sustainably as possible, investing millions in infrastructure to reduce impacts to soil, water and air quality, and spending nearly a half-billion dollars on noise mitigation around MSP,” said MAC CEO Jeff Hamiel in a statement. He also called the solar project a “major step forward” for the airport.
Xcel Energy contributed $2.1 million and the airport put $200,000 in public funds toward the solar installation, which is reported to have cost $20 million. According to the Star Tribune, the airport financed the project “largely with a federal lending program that buys down the interest rate on bonds.”
A second, 1.3 million-watt solar installation will begin construction next year atop the Terminal 2 parking structure. That project is expected to cost $8.5 million. Upon completion of the second installation, the two solar arrays are estimated to have a 30-year savings of nearly $15 million for the airport.