The trend of airports adding solar power systems is growing in the southwest U.S., which sees more sunny days each year than other parts of the country. Sacred Power of Albuquerque, N.M., installed a 10-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array at White Sands Regional Airport in Alamogordo last November. The New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department provided a $100,000 grant to help offset electricity costs at the airport, according to airport coordinator Parker Bradley. Initial savings should amount to $100 to $300 per month, he said, but in 2011 the buy-back rate for electricity generated by the airport is expected to double, he added, “so our corresponding savings will increase accordingly.”
The solar installation at Alamogordo also serves an educational purpose, including a one-day seminar for students of New Mexico State University, Alamogordo Branch, to see how the system was installed.