Fresno Airport, Barangay Butong Go Solar

solar-FresnoAerial.jpgThe air transport hub for California’s San Joaquin Valley, Fresno Yosemite International Airport last month flipped the switch and became the largest solar-powered airport in the U.S.
World Water & Solar Technologies, Sharp Solar and Xantrex Technology joined in providing a solar power system that will meet some 40% of FYI’s electricity needs, from lighting and air conditioning to tower communications. Solar Power Partners of Mill Valley will control and manage the service contract, and supervise the sale of the solar power to the airport according to the terms of a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) with PG&E the local public electric utility.
“Using inexhaustible solar power will lessen overhead costs and amend the financial performance of our operations. In addition, the solar facility has been constructed on land situated near our runways that up until now was unusable. We hope that other airports will follow our lead by converting to solar energy,” Fresno aviation director Russ Widmar said in an Energy Business Reports article.

Long-term Power Savings, No Capital Expense
Situated southeast of Fresno, nine carriers at Fresno Yosemite International offer around 48 flights a day to other air transport hubs across the western U.S. The airport covers 2,150 acres with two runways and one helipad.
World Water & Solar Technologies designed and lead managed the solar PV project, the core of which is a 2-megawatt, 9.5-acre ground mounted solar system, about the size of seven football fields. Sharp Solar supplied the solar panels for the project. Xantrex Technology supplied the inverters.
FYI expects to save about $13 million over the solar system’s 20-year expected life. The Power Purchase Agreement allowed the airport to install the system without incurring any capital expense. PG&E, administrator of the California Public Utility Commission incentive scheme, will also supervise the net-metering link with the power grid.
“This installation will help protect the environment with a major alternative energy resource,” said Al Galvez, PG&E Manager of Fresno Government and Community Relations. “We also believe that this will help build momentum at the national level for sound renewable energy policies that will surely be discussed in the months ahead.”
Solar Powered Water Systems
worldwater-phil-AMeterPhilip2.jpg New Jersey-based World Water & Solar Technologies Corp. is a solar power systems design and engineering company that specializes in high-power systems that combine proprietary on- and off-grid solar power and water management systems.
The company’s product line includes a variety of portable, solar powered units that can power pumps up to 1,000 horsepower, which makes them ideal for use on farms, ranches, dairies and by public water authorities.
Elsewhere in California, World Water & Solar announced early last month that it had completed all the engineering, planning, regulatory, environmental and contractual negotiations associated with a 1.2 megawatt, $7.5 million project for the Valley Center Municipal Water District of Valley Center, California that is expected to come on-line this year. Solar Power Partners of Mill Valley will manage an agreement that will provide solar power generated electricity for the district under the terms of a 25-year PPA.
Solar Powered Water for Rural Philippinos
Across the Pacific, the rural farming community in Barangay Butong, Philippines is making use of a World Water & Solar Technologies’ system to meet its water needs.
The company’s Aquadrive controller converts 2.7 kilowatts of PV power into three-phase AC power to drive a 5-horsepower submersible pump that delivers 22 cubic meters of water per day. A borehole drilled into an underground river and aquifer 23 meters down can yield 85 liters per second. Six kilometers of pipeline connect to ten water distribution points and a 54-cubic meter storage tank, which provides a 2.5-day reserve capacity for the community’s 1,000 residents.
Working with the Municipal Government of Ronda and the Philippine National Bank, the initial investment is recouped through water sales without any special grants or subsidies. Residents pay for their water usage via a smart card-based metering and payments system.

An independent journalist, researcher and writer, my work roams across the nexus where ecology, technology, political economy and sociology intersect and overlap. The lifelong quest for knowledge of the world and self -- not to mention gainful employment -- has led me near and far afield, from Europe, across the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa and back home to the Americas. LinkedIn: andrew burger Google+: Andrew B Email:

3 responses

  1. Last year California State University, Fresno (“Fresno State”) built a parking garage with solar panels on top of it. The solar panels supply part of Fresno State’s electricity. Several solar plants are supposed to be built in Fresno County. Our hot, dry climate in Fresno makes it ideal for solar power, and I hope we become a solar power belt.

  2. The airport stuff is brilliant. I’ve always lamented the idea of covering hundreds of otherwise beautiful or useful acres with panels, but for an airport approach, what could be better? Would love to see this at the dodgy scrap of wasteland at the end of the LAX runways! Wouldn’t power much, but would be a start!

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