A feasibility study has found that over 3,100 acres of vacant land at Kansas City International Airport are suitable for a solar panel installation that could produce up to 500 MW of electricity, sufficient to develop the equivalent of up to 70,000 average-sized homes. A solar array of this size would be one of the largest in the United States.
The study recommends a phased approach to accelerate the construction of solar plants and to supply these facilities with faster energy. Phase One would include the installation of solar panels on 136 acres, producing 35 megawatts of energy, which would be enough to develop 4,500 homes and create the largest solar array at any airport in the nation.
Building the project in phases is the fastest and most cost-effective way to create the largest municipal solar array in the country.
“The vision for this massive renewable energy project is to significantly reduce carbon emissions, reduce energy costs for our residents, and protect Kansas City from energy grid problems and other outbreaks outside our city,” said City Manager Brian Platt. “We must take bold, innovative and aggressive steps if we are ever to make progress in the fight against climate change and improve the health of our environment and our inhabitants. By 2020, 70% of the energy produced in Missouri came from coal-fired sources. Imagine the potential shift in air quality of a project like this.
“The city council has set goal after goal for a more resilient organization, and this is a great way to do that,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas. “We can lead this nation by showing how land is used that is otherwise just sitting there, and potentially helping our residents who are struggling with high energy bills. We believe we can make our federal officials a good case that this project will produce results. .
While Kansas City has been a national leader in environmental sustainability for decades, this initiative was also inspired by the spike in energy costs last winter. Kansas City has recognized the need to move faster and build larger solutions for a locally operated power supply.
“I’m glad to see the city prioritize renewable energy, especially at the gate of our community,” said City Councilor Eric Bunch, Fourth District. “This proposed solar farm brings us one big step closer to reducing our carbon emissions. Reducing emissions by investing in proven renewable energy technology is just another way Kansas City will remain at the forefront of the future energy landscape.
“The proposed solar installation is a major step toward creating clean solar energy options as we address Kansas City’s commitment to climate resilience and sustainability,” added City Councilor Andrea Bough, Sixth District at-Large. “Not only will we be able to use land that has limited use, but we will be able to offer our residents solar energy on a large scale.”
The city has partnered with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which is part of the Federal Department of Energy. This team of national experts is working with city staff to develop and issue RFP / Q, which should be released in late summer or early fall.
Media questions can be directed to City Communications Director Chris Hernandez, 816-513-3474.