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Borrego, San Diego Airport Partner on 3.3-MW Solar Project

Borrego Solar Systems and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority on March 31 announced a partnership to develop a 3.3-MW solar system on the roof of the newly expanded Terminal 2 West at San Diego International Airport (SDIA) and in a section the Terminal 2 short-term parking lot adjacent to terminal.

Borrego Solar will break ground on the project in mid-2014, with an estimated completion date in late 2014. The system will generate an estimated 5.3 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in its first year of operation – enough power to offset a projected 10%-13% of the energy needs for Terminals 1 and 2 at SDIA.

Borrego Solar will build and finance the system through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), which will save the Airport Authority a projected $3m to $8m over the contract period. By going the PPA route, the Airport Authority is able to ‘go solar’ at no upfront cost and will purchase clean solar energy at a cost less than it would otherwise pay to the local utility.

“This solar project — the first at the airport — will be a noteworthy and visible highlight of our ongoing commitment to sustainability,” said Thella Bowens, president and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, owner and operator of SDIA. “By partnering with Borrego Solar, we will boost our sustainability efforts with clean energy generation, providing environmental benefits to the region and financial savings to the Airport Authority.”

“As a San Diego-based company who makes extensive use of the airport, we are especially proud and excited to be partnering with SDIA on their first major solar project,” said Borrego Solar CEO Mike Hall.

In 2008, SDIA was the first major airport in the nation to adopt a formal sustainability policy, which includes a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving LEED certification in all new construction. In February, SDIA was the first U.S. airport to sign the Climate Declaration, a call to action organized by the nonprofit Ceres that urges federal and state policymakers to seize the economic opportunity of addressing climate change. In 2012, it was the first U.S. airport to publish an annual sustainability report based on Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, a reporting framework for sustainability-related performance.

SDIA will mark Borrego Solar’s third airport installation, following installations currently under construction at airport facilities in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Established in 1980, Borrego Solar Systems is one of the nation’s leading financiers, designers, developers and installers of commercial and utility solar power systems.

This article was originally published on GenerationHub and was republished with permission.

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Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior t...

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