Thursday, December 3, 2015

Minneapolis Airport Solar Project Twice The Quoted Rate For Solar Energy Projects At $7 Million / MW; No Problem -- Increase Landing Fees -- No One Will Notice -- December 3, 2015

A solar energy project at the Minneapolis airport came in at twice the going rate for solar energy projects. 

The solar energy project came in at almost $7 million / MW compared to the usual price of $3.5 million / MW and compared to $2 million / MW for wind, and significantly less for natural gas and coal.

From the Minneapolis StarTrib:
Minnesota’s largest solar power project is now generating electricity atop two parking ramps at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The 3 million-watt system containing 8,705 solar panels went online Tuesday, and is expected to supply 20 percent of the electricity used in Terminal 1 and to cut carbon emissions by nearly 7,000 tons per year, airport officials said. [It would be interesting to know how much carbon is emitted by a/c flying into this airport in one day.]

“It is a big deal for us,” said Dennis Probst, executive vice president for the Metropolitan Airports Commission. [At $7 million / MW -- it is a big deal.]

The $20 million solar project is the first of two at the airport. The commission recently approved a plan to install a 1.3 million-watt solar array atop a parking ramp at Terminal 2, at a cost of $8.5 million. Construction is expected to begin next year.

Both solar arrays are expected to make money immediately for the airport — with 30-year savings of $10 million on the first project, and about half that on the second, smaller project.
The $20 million project for 3 MW = almost $7 million / MW.

The smaller project comes in about the same price / MW. At $8.5 million / 1.3 MW = $6.5 million / MW.

Interestingly enough, the $7 million / MW price tag is similar to the $6 million / MW price tag at a Milwaukee, WI, airport. Something about airports? Not a problem: simply increase the landing fees which will then be passed on to fliers (compare your airline tickets into Minneapolis vs DFW).

Disclaimer: I often make simple arithmetic errors. If this information is important to you, go to the source, and use a reliable calculator. These numbers are so off the scale, I'm sure I made a mistake somewhere. If indeed the numbers are accurate ($7 million/MW), I would think the state's attorney general might want to have an independent auditor / inspector check into the bidding process.

From an August 25, 2014, post, this is 30-second sound bite for "cost of renewable megawatt":
  • Solar: $3 million / MW
  • Wind: $2.5 million / MW
  • Natural gas: $865,000 / MW

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