Sacramento Nabs Largest On-Airport Solar Facility in CA

With capital investment from NRG Energy, the project is expected to provide nearly one-third of the city's airport with electricity, cutting energy costs by $850,000 per year.

Flip-the-Switch-1600x901Sacramento International Airport has opened a solar facility that is anticipated to provide more than 30 percent of the airport’s electricity. The project is the largest on-airport solar facility in California.

The 7.9-megawatt solar farm is located on 35 acres on Aviation Drive. It consists of more than 23,000 LG solar panels, mounted on NEXTracker racking, which tracks the sun’s path, maximizing efficiency and energy production. The electricity generated by the facility is sufficient to power 1,600 homes a year.

Bountiful benefits

The capital investment was provided by NRG Energy, who owns and operates the facility, while Borrego Solar Systems handled the installation process. The airport had no costs for construction. NRG signed a 25-year PPA with the airport, in a deal that is expected to cut airport energy costs by $850,000 per year.

“Over 10 million travelers (that) fly in and out of Sacramento Airport each year will now be able to see the value of solar at work and witness the airport’s commitment to clean, reliable, renewable energy,” NRG Renewables Senior Director of Business Development Kevin Prince said in prepared remarks. “The airport and county had the vision to embrace solar technology. With this system now operational, we can offset one-third of the airport’s annual load and, on certain days like today, offset the entire electricity needs of the airport.”

“By adopting solar, Sacramento Airport has not only made a prudent financial decision, but has also taken action to reduce its environmental impact. The solar energy produced over the life of the system will offset nearly 289,000 metric tons of harmful carbon dioxide equivalents—this is the same amount that would be offset by taking nearly 62,000 cars off the road,” added Jackie Pitera, a senior member of Borrego Solar’s project development team.

California is one of the leading states investing in renewable energy like solar. Earlier this month, two firms announced their planned elviver of the first-ever solar project to power oilfield operations in the San Joaquin Valley.

Image courtesy of Borrego Solar