Solar Flying at U.S. Airports


More airports are going solar in 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.

Airport interest in solar energy is increasing rapidly. Going solar enables airports to reduce operating costs and to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable development. There are more than 15 solar airport farms in the U.S., including arrays at Fresno Yosemite International Aiport and Denver International Aiport, respectively. Indianapolis International Aiport is following their track, and it will soon be home to the largest solar farm on airport real estate in North America.

Telamon Corporation and Johnson Melloh Solutions, two Indianapolis based businesses, have partnered with the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA), the City of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL), General Energy Solutions (GES), and Central Power to construct North America’s largest airport solar installation.

GES, Telamon, and Johnson Melloh Solution developed and financed the project. Cenergy Power is engineering, procuring, and constructing the system. The solar array will be installed on ground-mounted racking systems that will fill nearly 75 acres of land near the airport exit off I-70.

Construction of the 12.5MW DC IND Solar Farm began in March this year. The construction phase of the project creates up to 140 temporary poistions to fill and 12 permanent positions will be created to manage and maintain the solar farm. The project is anticipated to be operational by the fall of 2013.

The project consists of more than 41,000 PV panels, each capable of producing 280 watts at peak power production. Twenty Solectria SGI 500XT’s inverters will power the site. The solar farm is expected to generate more than 15MWh annually, enough to power more than 1,200 average homes per year. The energy generated will prevent approximately 10,700 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment each year, the equivalent of removing approximately 2,000 cars from the roads. 

The energy produced will be sold to Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) through a 15-year power puchase agreement (PPA) and feet into the grid of existing surface transmission lines that connect the airport terminal to the IPL substation west of the airport.

To learn more about the IND Solar Farm, click here.