California Airports Continue Solar Energy Trend

 - February 10, 2021, 4:33 PM
Given their wide-open requirements with no shade or other obstructions blocking sunlight, large airport structures such as hangars make perfect platforms to support solar arrays, a fact that is being utilized in areas such as California. (Photo: Clay Lacy Aviation)

With sustainability becoming a major focus in business aviation, more hangar keepers, particularly in California with its abundant sunshine, are turning to solar energy to power their operations. Among the latest are Clay Lacy Aviation at Van Nuys Airport (VNY) and Aeroplex/Aerolease Group at Long Beach Airport (LGB).

Clay Lacy this week announced it completed the installation of a 500-kW, 1,242-panel solar array covering nearly 30,000 sq ft of the roof of its headquarters, hangar, and maintenance facility at VNY. The electricity generated each year will offset 530 metric tons of CO2, the same amount generated by driving a passenger car 1.3 million miles, and will reduce the facilities’ energy costs by 56 percent annually. The aviation services provider also upgraded with 200 energy-efficient LED lighting fixtures and added 44 electric vehicle charging stations.

'We are committed to operating sustainably and making significant progress toward a net-zero carbon footprint," said Scott Cutshall, the company's senior v-p for business operations. "These improvements are the first of many to help us achieve our sustainability goals."

At LGB, airport real estate developer and operator Aeroplex last month unveiled the largest solar energy project on the field, a grid of nearly 1,000 panels occupying 21,000 sq ft on the roof of the company’s 55,000-sq-ft building that houses the Signature Flight Support FBO. The array will generate 380 kW of solar power per year, good for a greenhouse gas reduction of 424 metric tons. The city of Long Beach plans to begin construction in the next few months on a large solar energy system on the roof of the airport’s parking structures.

"I'm proud to see this wonderful collaboration between Long Beach Airport and Aeroplex, a leading member of our aviation community," said Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia. "Our airport is committed to setting the standard for sustainability among U.S. airports."