Chicago’s Midway Airport QTA facility goes solar

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Chicago’s Midway Airport’s Quick-Turn-Around (QTA) facility goes solar with a 25kW rooftop PV system, providing approximately 30% of the QTA’s power needs.

Chicago’s Midway Airport’s Quick-Turn-Around (QTA) facility has been equipped with a 25kW rooftop PV system. The rooftop system supplies approximately 30% of the QTA’s power needs and provides a strong visual reminder of Midway Airport’s green initiatives. The QTA facility includes nine car wash bays, nine fueling islands, 36 fuel pumps, and two 20,000-gallon underground fuel tanks. Water used to wash the rental cars is recycled.

The panels used for the solar project were provided by KYOCERA Solar and installed by Green Power Solutions. Together the firms were able to overcome a structural challenge with the installation, which sits on a split-seam metal roof, by modifying a special clamp on the racking system to secure the system in place. Green Power Solutions also installed nine wind turbines in conjunction with Midway Airport’s green initiative. The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) is pursuing LEED certification for the project, which receives three “green airplanes” for design and four green airplanes for construction, as rated by the CDA’s Sustainable Airport Manual.

With thousands of solar industry professionals flying into Chicago for the Solar Power International tradeshow October 21-24, this visible solar installation is an ideal way to show the industry that solar power is growing in the Midwest.

“We’re excited to be a part of Midway Airport’s ‘greening,’ and hope this installation serves as a high-profile reminder that solar power is the smart choice for our nation’s future,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar.

Midway isn’t the only airport going solar. More airports are going solarin an effort to reduce operating costs and demonstrate commitment to sustainable development. There are more than 15 solar airport farms in the U.S., and Indianapolis International Airport will soon be home to the largest solar airport farm. Tucson International Airport recently wrapped up the first phase of a 2.5MW solar canopy installation using Kyocera modules above the main public parking lot. Completed in August, the 1MW section powers about a third of the terminal complex’s power needs.