“DIA was designed to maximize sustainability, and we have embraced and expanded that legacy over the last 19 years,” said airport CEO Kim Day. “We continue to invest in initiatives that reduce our carbon footprint and preserve the natural assets of Colorado. Most significant is our investment in green initiatives that are financially viable, which assures their perpetuity, even in times of economic downturn.”
The developer for the Solar IV project is Oak Leaf Energy Partners. The project cost of about $6 million will be paid for by the owners, Denver Solar IV, LLC. DIA will buy the electricity generated by the array over a 20-year period at a cost per kilowatt-hour that is less than the average cost DIA pays to Xcel Energy for electricity.
Some of the electricity generated by Solar IV will be used directly at DIA, while excess electricity will be sold to Xcel Energy’s grid. The electricity that is used at the airport will power the Denver Fire Department’s Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Training Academy. Constructed in 2001, this state-of-the-art facility includes an 80-foot aircraft live-fire training simulator and two actual regional aircraft for training in numerous types of emergency scenarios. The array will provide 100 percent of the facility’s electricity needs.
With the addition of Solar IV, DIA’s four solar arrays now have the capacity to generate 10 megawatts, or 16 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s enough electricity to power about 2,595 typical Denver-area homes each year. The arrays also have the capacity to offset up to 11,465 metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions each year. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that’s the equivalent CO2 emissions of:
* 2,414 passenger vehicles annually
* 1,290,087 gallons of gasoline consumed
* 12,314,715 pounds of coal burned
* 26,663 barrels of oil consumed
DIA has long been at the forefront of developing on-airport solar opportunities, having installed its first solar array in 2008. Solar II came online in 2009, followed by Solar III in 2011. The airport now has a total of 42,358 individual solar panels spread across 55 acres of solar fields, making it the second-largest solar array at any U.S. airport.