MMAC Making Smart Decisions for Sustainability
Vol.8 Issue 5

The Aeronautical Center continues to look toward the future by investing in renewable energy. By law, all federal agencies are required to utilize renewable energy for a specified percentage of the electric energy they consume. The Energy Policy Act requires that at least 7.5% of the total electrical energy used, comes from renewable sources. The Aeronautical Center traditionally meets and exceeds this requirement by using utility incentives to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates. However, using Renewable Energy Certificates to meet renewable energy requirements is likely to soon be phased out, and the requirement will have to be met by direct usage of renewable energy.

Future location of the solar PV system on the MMAC

To better meet this renewable energy requirement, the Aeronautical Center is planning to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The system will be located near 74th Street and Quesada and will be capable of generating approximately 1.5 megawatts of electrical power. Over the course of a year, the solar PV system will generate approximately 2,600 megawatt-hours of electrical energy. This will help the Center progress toward mandated energy reduction goals and net-zero energy goals. Additionally, the electrical energy generated will offset approximately $170,000-$200,000 annually from the Center’s electric utility bill. Depending upon how much electric rates increase over the next 25 years, the annual savings will likely increase in the future - making this investment even better, economically.

The most abundant resources for renewable energy in Oklahoma are wind and solar power. Solar PV is one of the best renewable energy sources for the Aeronautical Center. Although wind energy can be more economical on a utility scale, solar PV is more economical than wind energy on a user scale. The output of solar PV panels matches well with the Aeronautical Center’s electrical load with maximum output occurring during summer days, when load is also at a maximum. Although the solar PV system will be tied to the electrical grid, the Center will use 100% of the power produced by the system because the system only produces a fraction of the electrical power that is used on site.

Architectural rendering of a solar photovoltaic system

The solar PV project is being carefully designed and coordinated with OG&E and the Oklahoma City Airport to ensure safety. A thorough glare study and environmental assessment were devised to ensure that there are no adverse impacts. The system is also designed to be durable. The panels are designed to withstand high winds and golf ball sized hail without damage. The construction project is currently being bid, and is scheduled to be awarded in the fourth quarter of FY-22.

The solar PV project will position the Aeronautical Center to meet renewable energy mandates.

It will also help the Center to continue leading the FAA and DOT in protecting our environment, and conserving resources to meet our future energy needs.

Federal Aviation Aministration (FAA) seal