COVER STORY Solar panels at Denver International Airport

A solar panel installation at Denver International Airport.

Work has begun at Denver International Airport to construct two new solar arrays, intended to more than double the amount of solar energy generated at the airport by 2022, the airport announced Monday. 

Once completed, the two solar arrays are expected to generate 36 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually — equal to the average electricity consumption of nearly 6,000 Denver residences, according to the airport.

“These additional solar projects will help us improve the sustainability of our energy supply while helping us reach our goal of becoming one of the greenest airports in the world,” said airport CEO Phil Washington.

The solar arrays will be constructed on airport property near 114th Avenue and Trussville Street. The first array is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2022 and the second in the third quarter, according to the airport.

This will increase the airport’s solar energy generation capacity by 18.5 megawatts, reaching 34 megawatts total, said Scott Morrissey, the airport’s senior vice president of sustainability.

“After the two new systems are energized, the airport will have solar panels spread across over 140 acres of land, making (the airport) one of the largest hosts of solar energy at any airport in the world," Morrissey said.

This comes after Denver International Airport constructed its first solar array in 2008.

The electricity from the new solar arrays, purchased through Greenbacker Renewable Energy, is expected to save the airport more than $3 million over 25 years, Morrissey said.

This project is part of the airport’s Vision 100 project, intended to prepare the airport to reach 100 million annual passengers between 2030 and 2035.