Sacramento airport will get nearly one-third of power from solar farm

Sacramento International Airport has opened a 35-acre solar farm on site.
Sacramento International Airport has opened a 35-acre solar farm on site. Photo courtesy of County Airports system

Sacramento International Airport this week announced it has opened two solar array fields on airport grounds that will produce an estimated 30 percent of the power needed to run the facility.

The 7.9-megawatt solar farm on 35 acres is expected to cut airport energy costs by $850,000 a year, officials said.

The facility, installed by Borrego Solar Systems, will be owned and operated by NRG Energy, a Fortune 500 company. NRG will sell electricity to the airport at a reduced rate as part of a 25-year deal, according to an airport statement. The private company paid for installation.

Airport executive John Wheat said the solar farm will both reduce airport energy costs and allow the airport to operate in a more environmentally sustainable way. “It’s truly a win-win scenario.”

The facility contains 23,000 LG company solar panels mounted on racks that track the sun’s movement through the day. The solar farms have been up and running for two weeks, official said.

“Over 10 million travelers fly in and out of Sacramento Airport each year who will now be able to see the value of solar at work and witness the airport’s commitment to clean, reliable, renewable energy,” said Kevin Prince, business development director for NRG.

The solar farm was built to generate power only to meet the airport’s electricity needs. But it will be connected to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District grid, allowing solar power to flow out during the day and grid power in at night for use at the airport under a net metering agreement, according to airport spokeswoman Laurie Slothower.

Tony Bizjak: 916-321-1059, @TonyBizjak