Granite Air Center announced it has partnered with Norwich Solar Technologies of White River Junction, Vermont, to install a 218.1-kWdc net-metered PV system on the main hangar rooftop at its facility. It is the largest solar array in Lebanon, New Hampshire, to date. Completed in early May 2018, the solar array will provide Granite Air long-term energy cost reduction and stability through the integration of clean, renewable solar electricity.
Granite Air Center is Lebanon Airport’s Fixed Base Operator (FBO). The FBO provides refueling, repair, maintenance, short and long-term hangar storage, and other services to general aviation and commercial aircraft.
Jason Archambeault, co-owner/COO of Granite Air Center, said the solar PV project is important to them for a number of reasons. “We love the idea that we can offset a large part of our carbon footprint through solar,” said Archambeault. “We believe following socially responsible business practices is just the right thing to do. And using a local solar company to do the work also supports local jobs.”
The recent increase in solar projects at America’s airports can be credited to a Federal Aviation Administration program. The Airport Environmental Program is intended to reduce emissions, as well benefit operators with significant savings in an industry with historically large operational and environmental costs.
Airports are particularly attractive for solar installations, not only because of the abundance of structurally sound roof space on hangars and terminals but also because they typically have unobstructed, unshaded solar exposure. Due to their nearly round-the-clock operation, even smaller regional airports can have significant electricity bills. Granite Air’s solar PV array is expected to meet nearly all of their electricity needs.
“As solar power continues to prove its economic and environmental value, airports in the U.S. are an obvious choice for PV installations. The scale of airport solar projects continues to grow because there is considerable untapped energy potential at the nation’s roughly 13,000 airports and airfields,” said Bob Lewis, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Norwich Solar Technologies.
Greg Soho, Granite Air Center co-owner/CFO, added that he came to the realization after a presentation on the project with Norwich Solar. “The decision to move forward with the project was pretty easy, in addition to the environmental benefits of producing renewable solar energy, we are able to stabilize our long-term electricity costs.” With a federal investment tax credit of 30% and a New Hampshire rebate, more than half of the system cost will be offset by incentives, not including the generous accelerated depreciation allowed for renewable energy projects. Soho added, “with the incentives available to us, this is a very viable project.”
In addition to long-term energy savings, the solar array will provide the environmental benefits of offsetting the equivalent of 5,554,000 lbs. of CO2, the equivalent of 11,341,000 miles driven by automobile or 268,000 gallons of jet fuel burned, over its warranted 25-year lifespan.
Norwich Solar Technologies provided complete services for the project including permitting, site analysis, engineering, procurement, construction and long-term maintenance of the system. The project also required an FAA review, which Norwich Solar facilitated, ensuring that the array does not obstruct visibility from the tower or cause a glare hazard for pilots.
News item from Norwich Solar Technologies