Monterey Regional Airport Uses Solar Array Funded By Energy Commission to Power Operations

With more than 30 daily flights that connect travelers to destinations across the globe, the Monterey Regional Airport serves nearly 400,000 commercial passengers every year. The airport has been exploring ways to keep energy costs down while ensuring smooth operations for passengers.

Earlier this year, the Regional Airport received a $3 million low-interest loan from the California Energy Commission. The funds allowed the airport to install an 826-kilowatt solar array that will produce 1.5 million kilowatt hours of clean energy annually, which is enough electricity to power 11 homes a year. The solar array is expected to save the airport $5.5 million in energy savings over 25 years.

At a Sept. 21 event to “flip the switch” on the solar array, Bryan Early, special advisor to Energy Commissioner Andrew McAllister, recognized the airport for its leadership in sustainable energy.
"City, county and state officials today celebrate efforts to save energy and help achieve the state's ambitious energy goals,” Early said. “Because of the tremendous financial savings that these types of projects can generate, partners – like the Monterey Regional Airport – demonstrate that we can aspire to achieve sustainable outcomes while also improving community resources."

The three-acre ground-mounted solar system tracks the movement of the sun throughout the day, ensuring maximum renewable energy production and streamlined costs using a proven tracking technology. Also prioritized in the system’s design is reflectivity, or glare, which is a serious consideration in any site near an airport.

Funds for the project came from the Energy Commission’s Energy Conservation Assistance Act program. The program provides low- and no- interest loans and technical support to cities, counties, special districts, public schools, and colleges to implement energy efficiency projects.

Since the program began – almost 40 years ago – the Energy Commission has loaned $408 million to 860 entities.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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