The Coast News Group
Independent Energy Solutions, of Vista, Calif. constructs the solar carports at the FAA facility in Miramar. Sun Power supplied the 2,800+ modules that cover the carports and are estimated to generate over 1.6 million kilowatt hours of energy per year, saving the facility nearly $50,000 every month. Courtesy photo
Marketplace News

FAA Miramar solves 24/7 energy needs with solar carports

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control is an energy intensive system managing thousands of domestic flights daily with 24-hour operations.

Here in San Diego the hub of the FAA is their Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility (TRACON) in Miramar, navigating over 6,000 flights every day.

The electricity needs for complex computer systems, air traffic monitoring, and satellite communication systems now have a cleaner energy source with the addition of a large scale solar carport project.

Independent Energy Solutions (IES) was selected as the engineering and construction firm for the solar carport project and quality was at the forefront from the beginning of the solar design process.

Linda Strand, CEO of Independent Energy Solutions, explains, “Our goal was to provide the best quality solar PV available. The FAA needed the highest solar energy output to meet their needs with limited roof space available. SunPower modules were selected for this project specifically because of their high efficiency, longer lifespan, and extensive warranty.”

The FAA partnered with SDG&E in order to analyze their energy needs and evaluate the best solar solutions to fit the Miramar facility.

The location is considered to be the world’s busiest with 24-hour per day operations and a communication reach that extends from San Diego, east to Colorado, west to Micronesia in the western Pacific, and satellite services that cover all of North America.

The completed solar carport project consists of six solar carports, shading nearly 270 parking spaces, and creating over 1.6 million kilowatt hours of clean electricity.

“We had to maintain a design aesthetic that matched the existing location, offered LED lighting, and met important height restrictions,” said Brad Fort, director of Engineering at Independent Energy Solutions. “These are some of tallest carport structures we have installed solar atop and the overall engineering was critical to account for that height.”

Commercial solar installations have continued to grow at a record pace in 2016 maintaining San Diego as second in the nation with a total of 189 megawatts installed capacity, and Los Angeles still ranking first with a total of 215 megawatts installed solar capacity.

As a measure of the speed of solar today, consider the current predictions from the Solar Energy Institute of America, expecting the U.S. to add 1 million solar installations within the next two years.

It took 40 years, from 1976 to 2016, to reach the first 1 million solar installations in the United States, which occurred in August of 2016.


This article is sponsored content.