Tampa International Airport and Tampa Electric unveiled the canopy of solar panels on the top floor of the airport’s south Economy Parking Garage – which provides solar energy to Tampa Electric’s customers and shade for parking patrons.
At 2 megawatts (MW), the solar panels produce enough electricity to power up to 250 homes. It is Tampa Electric’s first foray into large-scale solar power and its largest solar photovoltaic (PV) installation to date. Tampa Electric owns the PV array, and the electricity it produces goes to the grid, to benefit all of Tampa Electric’s nearly 725,000 customers, including the airport.
“This is a big step in Tampa Electric’s renewable portfolio, and this is just the beginning,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. “We are proud to be a partner with the airport on this important project, and we believe renewable energy has an important role in our energy future.”
Tampa Electric plans to build several more large-scale solar arrays in the next few years, including a 23-MW solar project at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach. That system will be the largest in Hillsborough County and will be able to produce enough power for almost 3,500 homes.
“We are thrilled to help flip the switch on this solar array and to serve as a home for an important renewable resource that will benefit all of Tampa Bay,” said Joe Lopano, chief executive officer of Tampa International Airport. “Tampa International Airport, through this and other initiatives, is committed to sustainability with the goal of improving our airport, our city and the entire region.”
In addition to the solar project, Tampa International recently unveiled a dozen new electric vehicle charging stations and preferred parking spots for people driving alternative fuel vehicles. The airport also operates a fleet of 54 alternative fuel vehicles and since 2009 has saved over 315 million gallons of potable water through the use of reclaimed water.