Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and SunPower Corp. are dedicating today a 5.4-megawatt high efficiency SunPower solar power system. The system is expected to generate the equivalent of 51 percent of the electricity demand at the airport's rental car center, two East Economy parking garages and toll plaza, saving $4.7 million over the next 20 years.
"With this SunPower system, Sky Harbor Airport is reinforcing its commitment to energy conservation and improving air quality in Arizona, while saving airport funds," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. "Councilman Bill Gates has been championing this effort at the city and it's exciting to see it come to fruition."
"This SunPower system will reliably produce clean energy for years to come," said SunPower Director, Western Project Sales, Rick Whisman. "SunPower's technology will ensure that the system delivers energy over the long term, reducing operational expenses significantly with no upfront expenditure."
The project was facilitated in part by Arizona Public Service Company's (APS) Renewable Energy Incentive Program, which offers financial incentives to customers that help to offset up to 40 percent of the costs of installing solar energy.
The airport has a solar services agreement with SunPower, which designed and built the system, and is operating and maintaining it. The airport is hosting the system and buying electricity at rates that are competitive with retail electricity, providing a hedge against rising electricity costs with no capital investment. The renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the energy produced by the system will be transferred to APS in fulfillment of the state's renewable energy standard and tariff.
At the airport, SunPower installed SunPower E20 solar panels, the most efficient solar panels on the market today, at three rooftop locations: the Rental Car Center and two buildings that comprise the East Economy Garages. System construction was completed in two months at the end of 2011.
According to estimates provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the system is expected to offset the production of more than 5500 tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to removing 19,800 cars from Arizona's roads over the next 20 years.