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Biggest solar power array in the state goes live at MSP Airport

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Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is now home to Minnesota's largest solar power installation.

While passengers jet off into the sun, the airport will be harnessing its power thanks to a huge, 3-megawatt solar array on the top of two parking ramps at Terminal 1, which went live on Thursday morning.

It's been described in a press release as a "first-of-its-kind airport project," which has also seen 7,700 new LED light fixtures and additional electric vehicle charging points installed in the airport's four parking ramps.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission estimates the solar array will generate "close to 20 percent of the airport's total peak power capacity."

"The Metropolitan Airports Commission has worked for decades to operate Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as sustainably as possible, investing millions in infrastructure to reduce impacts to soil, water and air quality, and spending nearly a half-billion dollars on noise mitigation around MSP," Commission CEO Jeff Hamiel said.

"This solar project is a major step forward in use of renewable energy at MSP International Airport," he added.

It is predicted the array will reduce the airport's greenhouse gas emissions by 6,813 metric tons every year.

The airport isn't finished either, with the Star Tribune reporting the $20 million solar project is just the first of two. It also plans to install a 1.3-megawatt array on top of the parking ramp at Terminal 2 at a cost of $8.5 million, which work should start on next year.

The newspaper said the projects are expected to make money for the airport, with the Terminal 1 array expected to save $10 million over the next 30 years.

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