Indianapolis airport solar farm expansion completed

AP News
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Posted: Dec 22, 2014 8:33 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Contractors have finished bringing online dozens of acres of solar panels at Indianapolis International Airport, solidifying its status as the home of the nation's largest airport-based solar farm.

Workers recently finished adding 86 acres of solar panels at the airport, more than doubling the size of its solar farm to 151 acres.

The airport southwest of Indianapolis now has a total of 76,000 solar photovoltaic panels that turn sunlight into electricity and feed that power into the local electrical grid.

Airport spokeswoman Kendall Bybee said Monday the airport's sprawling arrays of solar panels are capable of generating 31.7 million kilowatt hours of power, or enough to power 3,200 average U.S. homes.

The nation's second-largest airport-based solar farm is at Denver International Airport, Bybee said. The Denver airport's solar farm generates enough power to light about 2,600 homes, according to its website.

Bybee said Indianapolis International Airport claimed the "largest" airport-based solar farm title not by design, but simply by putting more of the airport's land into use for power generation.

"The airport's intention was never to have the largest airport-based solar farm — it just so happens that it happened, because the airport had so much unused land," she said.

The solar farm is owned and operated by Taiwan-based General Energy Solutions.

Bybee said a small addition to the airport's solar farm will be installed next year, but that project's size hasn't been determined.