Solar project at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport to get uprated

The Northern States Power unit of Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) on Dec. 1 filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission an executed Renewable Development Fund (RDF) grant contract with the Metropolitan Airports Commission related to an airport solar project.

The contract is for an Energy Production project approved for funding by the commission in a March 2014 order. In the initial project proposal submitted by the Airports Commission (called the “Contractor” in the filing) and approved in the March 2014 order, the commission requested modifications to the standard RDF grant contract. Later, during the due diligence and contract negotiation process, it decided to use the standard grant contract with no modifications.

As part of its RDF grant application, the Airports Commission proposed to install 1,180 kW (dc) solar capacity on the gold parking ramp at Terminal One of Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport. As project plans developed, it increased the proposed installation to 1,471 kW (dc) and moved the project location from the gold parking ramp to the blue parking ramp. The overall cost of the project also increased from what was originally projected in the initial project proposal. Northern States Power noted that the Airport Commission will cover all cost increases, so the RDF cost share for the project has not changed. The grant is at slightly over $2 million out of a $7.6 million project.

Said a project description: “To offset electrical demand at the airport and use the solar facility as the centerpiece for showcasing energy innovations at the airport, the Contractor will install polycrystalline modules on the upper deck of the Blue parking ramp facility. The facility will utilize Made-In-Minnesota equipment from tenKsolar. The array will be installed on a structural support so as to maintain current parking spaces on the upper deck of the ramp. The array will also be configured for future integration with energy storage, electric vehicle charging and other demand management technologies. Some panels will have an off-azimuth orientation to target production during peak demand periods.

“The facility will consist of a fixed-tilt, roof-mounted photovoltaic array to be owned and operated by the Contractor. The Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport will use all of the solar-generated electricity on-site.”

The Xcel contact on the project is: Amy S. Fredregill, Resource Planning & Strategy Manager, amy.s.fredregill@xcelenergy.com, (612) 215-5367.

Another contact is: Dennis Kowalke, Metropolitan Airports Commission, 6040 28th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55450, Telephone: 612-794-4325, Fax: 612-970-9600, dennis.kowalke@mspmac.org.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.