From Denver Colorado Airport's 2MW solar array to Palau's installation of PV awnings at its airport carpark, it seems that solar arrays are appearing at airports around the world. And not without good reason.
Given that airports need large amounts of land, both for car parking and surrounding runways, they are in many ways an ideal fit for large-scale ground-mounted solar arrays that might otherwise cause land-use and/or aesthetic concerns for the surrounding community.
Now Business Green reports that Gatwick Airport in London is jumping on the solar bandwagon, having installed a 50kW PV system just 150 metres from the main runway which the developer—Orta Solar—claims is paving the way for a much bigger array that will be completed by the end of the year. Nick Pascoe, Orta's chief executive, explained why starting small could lead to much bigger things:
"Gatwick wanted to do something, but there was lots of nervousness," he added. "So what they felt they'd do is put in 50kW. This has broken the back of those concerns and we can work on a larger system. Hopefully, it will be in place by the end of the year."
Of course besides the land use benefits of airports as sites for solar, there is another major advantage for advocates of the emerging green economy—airports receive millions of visitors each year and in many ways act as a billboard for a country as a whole. Much like this 9MW solar warehouse in New Jersey, by embracing solar technology so visibly, they help to communicate to the world that a new energy paradigm is emerging.
Let's just hope that the aviation industry proves to be serious about cutting emissions too.