Representatives from seven businesses at Van Nuys Airport on Wednesday unveiled commitments to solar energy at the San Fernando Valley airfield.
“These projects will make Van Nuys the largest solar system airport in the country that we know of,” said Curt Castagna, chief executive of Aeroplex/Aerolease Group, the first of the group to complete its solar installation.
Aeroplex/Aerolease worked with PCS Energy on installing 4,000 solar panels covering about 150,000 square feet of roof space that will generate about 1.5 megawatts of power.
PCS Principal Paul Jennings said that the best part of what he does, aside from doing good for the environment, is that it makes economic sense.
“The (solar energy) industry has matured to the point that in all cases it has better economic value than the alternative, which is fossil fuel,” he added.
PCS is paying for the solar equipment and installation, Jennings said. His company will sell the electricity to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power under a long-term contract. The airport tenants do not get the electricity, but they will get lease payments for use of their rooftops or other parts of their property where the solar panels are located.
Jennings added that it is all part of a DWP program to generate electricity locally.
PCS is installing the solar panels at the other six airport area businesses – The Park VNY, which serves propeller aircraft; fixed base operators Castle & Cooke Aviation and Clay Lacy Aviation; maintenance and repair shop Western Jet Aviation; Woodley LLC; and Valley Sod Farm.
Combined, the seven projects will generate 44.6 million kilowatt-hours annually, or enough to power about 8,000 homes a year.
Los Angeles World Airports Chief Executive Deborah Flint said it was a testament to how the airport agency worked with other city departments and the Van Nuys businesses to bring about meaningful, measurable and direct impacts.
“These seven tenants are leading the way and showing that they care and are willing to put their time, their energy and their resources into doing things of the past differently for today and for tomorrow,” Flint said.
Tony Marlow, president of aviation operations and business development for Castle & Cooke, said that it would install solar panels on its four largest buildings at the airfield.
It is important to be part of the solar project not just because of the green sustainability and cost savings reasons, Marlow said.
“We feel it is the right thing to do,” Marlow added. “Along with our cohorts here at the airport we are very excited about being a part of this. It is going to have minimal impact to the operation itself. We reap some benefit without any downside.”