DENVER, CO (August 19, 2008) – Today, a two megawatt (MW) solar energy system was dedicated at Denver International Airport (DIA). The solar photovoltaic system, spanning seven and a half acres at the airport’s entrance, will generate over three million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean electricity annually, demonstrating Denver’s commitment to environmental sustainability by reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere by more than 6.3 million pounds each year.
Celebrating the system’s dedication was Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, together with the following executives and dignitaries: DIA Aviation Manager Kim Day; Dick Kelly, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy; MMA Renewable Ventures CEO Matt Cheney; Frank Smith, CEO, WorldWater & Solar Technologies Corp.; and Ron Kenedi, vice president of Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group.
MMA Renewable Ventures, a subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC “MuniMae” (Pink Sheets: MMAB.PK) which financed, owns and operates the two megawatt system, joined with WorldWater (BULLETIN BOARD: WWAT.OB) and Denver International Airport to develop an innovative public-private partnership, leveraging tax credits and incentives to finance this landmark solar power system. This partnership enabled the City of Denver and Denver International Airport to deploy this solar array under a long-term contract or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Designed and installed by WorldWater, using more than 9,200 Sharp solar panels, the new ground-mounted photovoltaic solar arrays employ a single-axis tracking system that follows the sun during the day for greater efficiency and energy production.
“This installation at Denver International Airport fits with our Greenprint Denver action agenda for sustainability and our pledge to do all that we can to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “We are proud to have such a large and prominently placed solar power system at DIA. This installation is both a symbol and a practical example of the City’s commitment to renewable energy.”
Added Kim Day, aviation manager for Denver International Airport, “DIA has a long-standing commitment to sustainable operations and environmental protection. This project makes a visible environmental statement to the millions of passengers that travel through our airport.”
Frank Smith, CEO of WorldWater commented, “We are delighted that such a major metropolitan airport as Denver International has embarked on a solar energy system that is as impressive in scope as this two megawatt installation, which is the equivalent in size to seven football fields. In addition, our expertise in designing and installing commercial-scale solar systems enabled us to address the complex power needs of a major transportation hub like Denver International.”
“By securing power through a power purchase agreement rather than major capital investment, DIA will benefit from a renewable energy system that is cost-effective from its very first day of operation and for years to come,” said Matt Cheney, CEO of MMA Renewable Ventures. “Our collaborative effort serves as an example of how successful public-private partnerships can help municipal facilities make the most of tax credits and other incentives available for solar energy.”
Ron Kenedi, vice president of Sharp Solar Energy Solutions Group, noted, “As a leading global solar provider, Sharp is proud to be part of this tremendous effort to help Denver achieve its ambitious sustainability goals. This solar PV system will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, electricity costs, and grid constraints, while helping to improve Denver’s air quality and the region’s overall environment.”
“This project is right in line with the clean energy future we envision at Xcel Energy,” said Dick Kelly, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “We were pleased to play a role in helping Denver and Colorado meet the ambitious goals its leaders have set with the Renewable Energy Standard and Greenprint Denver.”
The project is part of the Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards program and will receive a rebate to offset the upfront construction costs. Xcel Energy will purchase the renewable energy credits from the clean electricity produced in support of Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard, which requires large utilities to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020.
One of three US airports to be accepted into the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Performance Track Program, DIA’s solar project illustrates how sustainable development can work as an integral operating principle, while the airport maintains a successful, profitable business, breaking records for passenger traffic and earning high customer satisfaction ratings. The array is one of the largest solar installations at any public airport in the US.
Operated by the City and County of Denver, DIA is the fifth busiest international airport in the United States, serving nearly 50 million passengers annually. With the City of Denver, Xcel Energy has developed an educational display in DIA’s Jeppesen Terminal to explain the benefits of solar energy.