|Jul 28, 2011
Destination Clean Energy: Denver International Airport Dedicates Third Solar Installation
More than 8 Megawatts of Solar Power Now Supply 6 Percent of DIA’s Total Annual Energy Requirements.
Denver International Airport held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to announce the completion of a 4.4-megawatt, ground-mounted solar power system on July 28, 2011.
The solar array is DIA’s third large-scale solar project, bringing the airport’s total amount of hosted solar power to more than 8 megawatts – the most solar generation at a commercial airport in the United States. Constellation Energy owns and maintains the solar installation, and DIA will purchase the electricity produced by the system over a 20-year period.
Business and community leaders, as well as representatives from state and local government, were on hand for the event, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
“This installation is a great example of where Denver is headed as a 21st-century city,” said Mayor Hancock.
Gov. Hickenlooper said DIA’s solar installations are great examples of the renewable energy that Colorado is developing, leading the state toward a balanced energy portfolio.
“With the addition of this solar facility, Denver International Airport’s three solar array systems now produce approximately 6 percent of the airport’s total annual power requirements,” said Kim Day, DIA’s aviation manager. “We support alternative energy applications at DIA because these projects are good for the environment, while positively impacting our bottom line. They are financially sustainable.”
The system is expected to supply as much as 7,000 megawatt-hours of electricity to DIA each year, using approximately 19,000 photovoltaic panels. Generating the same amount of electricity using non-renewable sources would result in the release of more than 5,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.
"Constellation Energy congratulates DIA for its continued commitment to clean energy,” said Michael D. Smith, senior vice president of green initiatives for Constellation Energy’s retail business. “Thanks to the shared commitment of federal, state, and local government, along with private business, more businesses are able to rely on solar power to achieve environmental goals and control electricity costs.”
Denver-based solar development firm Oak Leaf Energy Partners developed the project – its third at DIA. Quanta Services Intermountain Electric, which installed and manages DIA’s 2 MW and 1.6 MW solar facilities, installed the 4.4 MW project. Yingli Green Energy supplied the photovoltaic panels for the project.
Jim O’Neil, chief executive officer at Quanta Services Inc., concluded the dedication, saying, DIA’s new solar plant provides the equivalent power needed to serve 7,500 homes. He complimented Colorado, Denver, and Denver International Airport, describing them as “clear leaders” in the field of renewable energy.