Denver International Airport recently launched a 1.6 MW solar photovoltaic array that will power the airport’s fuel storage and distribution facilities.

MP2 Capital, which helped finance the project through a private-public partnership, says it is the largest solar power plant completed to date under the Obama administration’s grant initiative, the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act 1603.

“MP2 Capital is pleased to help further the Denver International Airport’s commitment to renewable energy. This project is a breakthrough in the airport industry as it relies on solar power to help reduce the carbon footprint of the fuel farm. Solar-powered jet fuel is the wave of the future as airports seek a cost-effective way to improve the environment,” said Mark Lerdal, chief executive officer of MP2 Capital. 

The solar array will help DIA offset the environmental and monetary costs of its jet fuel storage and distribution facility, generating approximately 2.5-million kw hours of clean electricity in the first year of operation and approximately 47-million kw hours during the system’s lifetime.

“The efficient development process could not have been achieved without the cooperation of our many partners on this project,” said Kim Day, aviation manager at DIA, whose partners included Intermountain Electric, Sharp Solar, Oak Leaf Energy and Xcel Energy. “DIA has a widespread reputation as a green airport, and this project is another example of our commitment to environmental responsibility.”

Despite the struggling economy, the project moved from concept to completion within 120 days.

The DIA array was one of the first solar projects to utilize the ARRA 1603 grant in lieu of investment tax credits. Created by the Obama administration to spur renewable energy projects, it grants payment for specified energy properties up front, helping to move projects forward without tax liability. 

As part of the public-private financing structure, MP2 Capital assumed the project’s financial and operational risks while DIA was able to secure renewable energy at an attractive long-term rate while providing renewable energy credits to Xcel Energy. Through a power-purchase agreement, DIA will procure the electricity generated from the system from MP2 Capital for a period of 20 years.


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