Pittsburgh International Airport Takes First Step to Add Solar Power

Pittsburgh International Airport Takes First Step to Add Solar Power

The future of Pittsburgh International Airport’s microgrid got a little brighter recently when the first of 9,390 solar panels for the project were installed.

The microgrid, an electricity network that can operate independently of the regional power grid, will be the airport’s primary power source but will remain connected to the grid as an option for emergency or backup power if needed.

Vice President of Engineering, Tom Woodrow, said:

“It’s a major milestone. We are leveraging the talents and skills of our local workforce and partners to create an energy source that is resilient and sustainable. Pittsburgh International will be one of the most site-hardened airports in the world.”

 

Overall, the project will supply the entire airport with electricity, but Woodrow explained the microgrid can be viewed as two components. The first part includes five generators fueled by natural gas sourced from wells drilled on-site by CNX Resources. This component will provide power to the airfield, the terminals, and the main public areas of the airport.

Pittsburgh International Airport Solar Power microgrid
 

The solar project, which could be considered the second component, will supply power to various spots on the surrounding airport property.

The solar panels, which will be visible to the public north of Interstate 376 near the main airport exit, received approval from the Department of Environmental Protection on Jan. 7 and construction began two days later. This part of the project is slated to be complete by summer’s end.

Pittsburgh International Airport CEO, Christina Cassotis, said:

“Part of our mission is to be a world leader in aviation innovation and this project is about powering airports into the future. This project will bring power resiliency and redundancy to enhance safety and ensure continued operations for the traveling public.”

 
Pittsburgh International Airport Solar Power microgrid

Crews work to begin installing the first of more than 9,000 solar panels that will power the facility, in addition to five natural gas-fired generators.

Together, the microgrid will produce more than 20 megawatts of electricity, or the equivalent of powering more than 13,000 residential homes. The airport’s current peak demand is approximately 14 megawatts.

The microgrid will be built, operated, and maintained by North Shore-based Peoples Natural Gas.

This article was originally published by the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

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