Constellation Energy (NYSE:CEG) and Denver-based Oak Leaf Energy Partners announced the development of a new 4.4 megawattsolar installation at Denver International Airport (DIA). Constellation Energy will finance, own and operate thesolar installation and DIA will purchase the electricity produced by the system from Constellation Energy over a20-year period. Intermountain Electric (IME) plans to begin construction of the project—the largest customer sitedsolar photovoltaic installation in Colorado—in the fall of 2010 with completion expected by early 2011.This is the third large scale solar project for DIA, with the airport having commissioned a 2 MW installation in2008 and a 1.6 MW facility commissioned in early 2010, both installed and managed by Intermountain Electric.Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) will supply the photovoltaic panels for the project.
“This project marks the third solar array to be constructed at Denver International Airport and furthers our commitment to environmental responsibility,” said Kim Day, aviation manager for DIA. “Denver’s airport has a widespread reputation as a ‘green’ airport. Our partnership with Oak Leaf Energy, Constellation Energy and Intermountain Electric not only expands our sustainability efforts, but is a great example of public-private partnerships advancing the ‘green economy.”
“Denver International Airport serves as a model of sustainability and Constellation Energy is very pleased to work with Oak Leaf Energy, IME and Yingli Solar to further expand the airport’s commitment to clean, renewable energy,” said Michael Smith, senior vice president of green initiatives for Constellation Energy’s retail business. “Customer-sited solar is a rapidly growing segment of the renewable energy industry as organizations realize the financial and sustainability benefits of systems like this. This agreement is the result of Constellation Energy’s ability to use innovative financing structures to develop projects combining federal, state, city and private corporate funding.”
Structuring solar projects as power purchase agreements (PPAs) creates an attractive business model that involves no upfront costs for customers and provides them with fixed power costs over a long term.
“In spite of the volatility of the capital markets, we were able to structure a competitive set of economics for our site host as well as our investors,” said Oak Leaf founder John Hereford. “We were able to accomplish this because of the experience and creativity of our partners at Intermountain Electric, Constellation Energy and DIA.”
The system is expected to supply approximately 7,000 megawatt-hours of electricity to DIA each year, utilizing approximately 19,000 Yingli Solar photovoltaic panels. Generating the same amount of electricity that will be produced by the new solar installation using non-renewable sources would result in the release of more than 5,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
“We are pleased to have been selected as the premier module supplier for a project of this magnitude, particularly coming from such a roster of experienced partners,” said Robert Petrina, managing director of Yingli Green Energy Americas. “We look forward to working with the team to support Denver International Airport’s goals to secure power from renewable sources.”