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MSP Airport turns to solar array for power needs

MINNEAPOLIS - A 3-megawatt solar installation is up and running atop two parking structures at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Metropolitan Airports Commission officials estimate the installation will generate 20 percent of the airpor...

MINNEAPOLIS - A 3-megawatt solar installation is up and running atop two parking structures at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Metropolitan Airports Commission officials estimate the installation will generate 20 percent of the airport’s peak power capacity, according to a news release Thursday. It is the state’s largest solar generation site, the release said.

“The Metropolitan Airports Commission has worked for decades to operate Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as sustainably as possible, investing millions in infrastructure to reduce impacts to soil, water and air quality, and spending nearly a half-billion dollars on noise mitigation around MSP,” MAC CEO Jeff Hamiel said in the news release. “This solar project is a major step forward in use of renewable energy at MSP International Airport.”

As part of the project, more than 7,700 metal halide light fixtures in MSP’s four parking ramps were converted to energy-saving LED lights, and four electrical vehicle charging stations were added to the ramps, bringing the total number of charging stations at the airport to 18.

The airports commission estimates the project will reduce the airport’s greenhouse gas emissions by 6,813 metric tons a year - roughly equivalent to taking 1,434 passenger vehicles off the road for the year.

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The project was partially funded by a grant from Xcel Energy’s renewable development fund.

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