Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Local Airports Buck Solar Trend

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Local Airports Buck Solar Trend

Article excerpt

TULSA - Although airports around the country are turning to solar power, there's no plan in Oklahoma to look skyward for energy. Contrary to a national trend, solar panels are still only a distant possibility at Oklahoma's major airports as long as the facilities have energy cost savings to capture in expansion upgrades, officials said.

For example, the recent remodeling of one of Tulsa International Airport's concourses provided an opportunity to invest in energy- efficient material such as daylight sensors to cut back on unnecessary artificial lights inside and tighter heating and air- conditioning systems, airport spokeswoman Alexis Higgins said. Out on the airplane runways, ground lights have been replaced with high- intensity LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, which use less energy than traditional lights.

The same has been true at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, which has been working on a massive terminal expansion to support more airlines, spokeswoman Karen Carney said. Upgrades there include energy-efficient window glass and timer-programmed lighting.

"It's not too far afield to consider," Higgins said. "We've even had companies that have inquired about the possibility of leasing rooftop space for solar panels. We just haven't had anyone yet pull the trigger on that type of installation."

Years ago, solar adaptation seemed to rely heavily on site location and the environment. In 2010, the first cities in the country that had already incorporated solar panels into their airport operations or asked for federal officials to visit their sites for guidance were almost all in the Southwest near the coast and U.S. border, areas with the highest sun intensity ratings, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The technology has since spread. Last year, utilities companies and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unveiled the first of four new solar installations at the Newark Liberty International Airport. And the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport in Minnesota began constructing on the top deck of two parking structures what is expected to become the state's largest solar generation site. …

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