U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Tuesday announced a $3 million Federal Aviation Administration grant for continued construction of a solar farm to provide power for Lovell Field/Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.
“This funding will help pay for energy-saving innovation at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport,” said Secretary LaHood. “Investing in sustainable infrastructure at our nation’s airports helps the environment and promotes economic growth.”
The FAA Airport Improvement Program grant will fund the second part of a three-phase project. Phase 1 (already online) includes almost 4,000 solar panels covering 4.5 acres, producing 1 megawatt of clean, solar power each year. Phase 2 (to be constructed with this grant) will add an additional 4,000 panels and three acres, producing a little over 1 megawatt of power.
The project should be completed by early 2013 and all together, produce enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 250 homes each year. When the solar farm is complete, it will yield electrical power that will provide one-third of the airport’s energy needs. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from this clean energy will be equivalent to taking 200 cars off Chattanooga’s roads each year.
The FAA funded the first phase with a $4 million grant last year.
“Our goal is to keep sustainability at the forefront of our decision-making process,” said Terry Hart, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Airport Authority. “We want to continue to show that airports and other agencies of government can be socially responsible while balancing limited resources.”
“This is an important investment in both the city of Chattanooga and its airport,” said Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta “It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in the Chattanooga area.”
AIP provides $3.35 billion in annual funding for airport improvement projects that help maintain the safety, capacity and environmental stewardship of airports. More than 3,300 airports are eligible for AIP grants benefiting commercial passengers, cargo operations and general aviation activities throughout the nation.