The largest solar field on a North American airport property is under construction in Indianapolis, and while the many acres around the runways serve as a safety barrier against accidents, the solar field is a way for the airport to generate some money from the land as well.
The Indiana Solar Farm is a field of thousands of perfectly aligned panels just off the exit to the Indianapolis airport property. It is one of a kind featuring more than 44,000 panels on 75 acres of land.
Phase two of the project is still in the works, and if it is approved it will feature about the same amount of panels just beyond the current field. Together they will create 25 megawatts of green energy, which is enough to power 2,400 homes.
Kurt Schneider is a partner and Vice President at Johnson Melloh Solutions, one of the companies partnered with the airport on the project. He says this project is a “win, win, win” scenario.
“The win was the airport had land they couldn’t really use because it was right above a runway and 15 feet is the height restriction- so they were only doing hay at the permanent time,” Schneider says. “So the airport gets a long-term lease option for 30 years on the property, we win because we develop jobs and economic impact and also the taxpayer wins as well because there’s tax that will come off the roll of the actual land and have to be paid during the project.”
Airport property director Eric Anderson says the solar field will be an iconic symbol as visitors come into the state.
“A lot of corporations when the come to visit or they are thinking about relocating or expanding, part of that equation is how green is the state or the city,” he says.
Once completed, the field will create 16-20 permanent positions as well as ongoing operation and maintenance jobs. Construction scheduled to be complete by the fall.