The Indianapolis International Airport has the largest solar farm at an airport in the United States. It has 44,000 solar panels on 75 acres. Another 32,000 are going to be added soon, covering an additional 75 acres. The extra solar panels will expand the capacity to the extent the solar farm will be able to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of about 3,200 homes.
The cost of the new solar panels is somewhere between $20-25 million dollars. The new panels will be able to track the sun to increase electricity generation.They should be installed and operational by the end of this year. The power generated will be sold to Indianapolis Power & Light Co. Inc. Telamon Corporation and Johnson Melloh Solutions developed the first solar farm there. It has a capacity of about 12 MW.
Having a solar farm near the airport is appealing to its management because the land is leased to the power generation company for about $225,000 each year.
“Having the world’s largest airport solar farm here in Indianapolis is a powerful testimony to our commitment to both economic and environmental sustainability. By harnessing limited-use land near the airfield, we are finding new ways to add to the $4.5 billion annual economic impact our airport generates for our region and new ways to expand the possibilities of green energy,” explained the executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority.
The Indianapolis airport has captured attention from other airports that might want to explore the feasibility of solar power. Chicago, Des Moines, Australia, Germany and Milwaukee have been reported to have interest. Minneapolis airport will have a 3 MW solar farm installed fairly soon.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway also has a large solar installation, though as a state, Indiana is not a solar power leader. Perhaps the attention garnered by the airport will raise solar power’s profile throughout the state and generate more interest.