Chattanooga Metropolitan airport in the US state of Tennessee has become the first airport in the US to be fully powered by solar energy; the end result of an ambitious project that started seven years ago, the airport’s 2.64-megawatt solar farm was completed with about $5 million of funding from the Federal Aviation Administration. That investment is expected to be earned back in under 20 years, as a renewable energy stream brings down the facility’s overall costs of operation. According to a press release, the installation measures about the size of 16 football fields—eight fields long and two fields wide.
The trend of incorporating solar panels into airports’ energy system is taking off around the globe. While Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport is the first in the United States to achieve this goal, it’s not the first in the world. The title goes to India’s Cochin International Airport, in the southern state of Kerala which became the world’s first airport to be powered entirely by solar energy in 2015. Other airports following the solar trend include the Dubai International Airport which installed 15,000 panels at its Terminal 2, Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Denver International airport, South Africa’s George Airport, Indianapolis International airport which houses 87,478 solar panels and provides 22.2 megawatts of renewable energy for the region’s grid, and other ones
This is a momentous day for the Chattanooga Airport as we complete our solar farm and achieve a major sustainability milestone,” said Terry Hart, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Airport in the release. “This project has immediate benefits to our airport and community, and we’re proud to set an example in renewable energy for other airports, businesses and our region. While generating a local renewable resource, we are also increasing the economic efficiency of the airport.”
According to Bloomberg, Chattanooga Airport’s solar farm saves energy via storage units that allow operations to continue after sundown. The publication also reports that the system is expected to last between 30 and 40 years.
Nigeria is gradually easing onto the solar highway; it has already recorded some noteworthy achievements particularly the Newly commissioned solar farm at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI) in Ebonyi state but more obviously needs to be done to harness the solar energy potential of this country to offset the huge energy deficits plaguing the economy. Universities, stadiums, and airports are known for their ample open surfaces which can be converted for solar energy generation