A solar project at Newark Liberty International Airport has generated 1 gigawatt hour of power in just two months of operation.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s 5-megawatt (MW) solar project at Newark’s Terminal A parking garage is the largest single solar rooftop project at any US airport.

As part of the agency’s continued commitment to sustainability, the Port Authority (PANYNJ) also announced a deal with TotalEnergies to begin construction of New York state’s largest solar carport at JFK in 2023.

“The agency recognises the transformative potential of solar energy,” said Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton. “We have established a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. These projects at JFK and Newark Liberty are part of the Port Authority’s aggressive climate action plan to meet the demands of a growing region by embarking on an unprecedented program to build the next generation of world-class infrastructure all while focusing on reducing our environmental impact.”

Installed by ENGIE North America (ENGIE), a leader in energy transition, the canopy structure over the parking garage servicing Newark Liberty’s new Terminal A features 12,708 solar panels covering 364,000sq ft. The 5MW solar project will generate enough energy to power approximately 833 homes, the authority said.

The parking garage also features more than 150 electric vehicle chargers for public use. To help reduce cost and lower energy utilisation, the charging stations feature sophisticated load management software so that charging will be shared smartly from the garage’s solar energy and ensures appropriate power output for the number of cars and the duration someone will be parking there.

In 2020, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners authorized the development, construction, and operation of New York state’s largest onsite solar plus storage system at John F Kennedy International Airport. The JFK solar installation will create a carport canopy with solar panels on top of the southern section of the airport’s Long Term Parking Lot 9, providing covered parking to approximately 3,000 parking spaces. The 12.3MW solar energy system includes 7.5MW of battery storage, which will provide enhanced resilience to AirTrain JFK. With construction expected to begin in 2024, the project is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 5,300 metric tons annually and the solar-generated electricity provided to the grid will serve low-income residents who may be eligible to receive credits on utility bills through the New York state community solar programme.

Similarly, the Port Authority installed more than 3,500 solar panels on the rooftop of the newly built parking garage on the western side of LaGuardia Airport, which produces more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy annually as part of the agency’s net-zero emissions targets announced in 2021.

Port Authority airports are now also providing infrastructure to support electric ground support equipment (GSE) as well as new electric buses to support shuttle operations.

Image: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey