Jeff Adelson, AP Business Writer
KENNER, La. (AP) — The sweeping curves and glass walls of Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport's planned new terminal building have defined that project since the design was released last month, but the futuristic architecture is not the only forward-looking aspect of the project.
Airport officials say they are also embarking on an ambitious plan: harnessing enough solar energy to fully power the airport, allowing it to operate independently most of the time, and especially when disaster strikes.
The solar proposal is still in its early stages but is included in the official cost projections for the $826 million airport revamp, which includes the new $650 million terminal on the north side of the property, a hotel and a new Interstate 10 flyover ramp. If it happens, it would apparently make Armstrong the only airport in the country capable of running on self-generated solar power.
"Once in place it would make us a zero-grid operation, where we're not dependent on outside generation," Director of Aviation Iftikar Ahmad said.
Initial plans call for installing enough solar panels to generate roughly 10 megawatts of power, enough to provide energy for about 1,500 homes.
A project that size would be one of the largest in the country. In fact, it could be unique in the United States, airport officials said, for even though other airports already have large solar projects, those are designed to feed electricity back into the general power grid or else to account for only a portion of the airports' power needs.
Read the complete article at USA Today.