Solar Energy Projects Take Flight at Van Nuys Airport

Oct. 25, 2018

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) on Oct. 25, joined with local elected leaders and aviation executives to further embrace sustainable energy with the announcement of solar power generation at Van Nuys general aviation Airport (VNY). VNY business tenant Aeroplex/Aerolease Group showcased the recent operational launch of its solar rooftop and canopy installation — a first at VNY – and six other business tenants also unveiled solar energy project commitments. This is the first installment of solar power generation at a LAWA airport, with future projects projected to come online, pending regulatory approvals. Upon completion of all seven projects presented today, VNY will become one of California’s leading general aviation airports for solar energy production.

The solar projects highlighted in today’s announcement by VNY aviation companies are:

  • Aeroplex/Aerolease Group (system now operational): 1.5 megawatts (MW), rooftop and canopy (the first such installation at VNY)
  • Valley Sod Farm: 13.8 MW, ground-mount unit, which will become the largest ground-mount solar electric system in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's service territory in the L.A. Basin
  • Castle & Cooke: 1.8 MW, rooftop
  • Clay Lacy Aviation: 1.8 MW, rooftop
  • The Park VNY: 3.3 MW, rooftop and canopy
  • Western Jet Aviation: 1.5 MW, rooftop and canopy
  • Woodley LLC: 3.8 MW, rooftop and canopies

"Since my time on the Los Angeles City Council, I have been a champion of the environment and a proud advocate for renewable energy," said Congressman Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), whose district includes VNY. "We must encourage clean energy alternatives for powering our state and nation, and we also must better address the tremendous challenges of man-made global climate change."

He added, "The solar projects at Van Nuys Airport will provide important contributions to environmental improvement, as well as examples for other businesses and organizations in our region and state to follow."

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, whose council district includes VNY, noted the importance of these solar energy projects in improving the quality of life in Van Nuys and surrounding areas. Besides significantly reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the projects will also eliminate approximately 212,700 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 14,500 pounds of asthma particles each year.

"The Van Nuys Airport has always been an economic engine for both the Valley and entire region. Now, with these solar projects and other initiatives, toxins from the area will be removed due to renewable power," said Councilwoman Martinez. "The solar projects not only mean a huge step forward in making our community green, but they also mean the first step toward future development, which includes ground-mounted power to alleviate the burden of local engine noise and fumes."

When energized, all of the systems combined will produce approximately 44.6 million kilowatt-hours annually — enough to power about 8,000 homes each year. In addition, the projects will annually reduce more than 73.3 million pounds of CO2 emissions.

"At Los Angeles World Airports, we are harnessing the power of the sun to deliver gold standard airports that lead in environmental sustainability," said Deborah Flint, chief executive officer, LAWA. "We are grateful to our tenants at Van Nuys Airport, who are innovating and partnering on this solar initiative, which is both good for the environment and good for business."

For the third consecutive year, LAWA has been recognized as a leader in reducing carbon emissions. Both VNY and LAX recently were recognized as carbon-accredited at the Airports Council International-North America annual conference. These accreditation renewals reflect LAWA's independently verified commitment to reduce air pollutant emissions in line with publicly published reduction goals. LAWA also operates the LAX FlyAway Nonstop Bus Service, which saved over 80,000 vehicle miles – and its associated carbon footprint – from being driven.

The CO2 reduction from today's current and announced solar power projects and commitments equates to planting almost 15,600 trees, or to saving more than 119.1 million car miles driven in a year. Given that the average driver puts in about 13,500 miles each year, this translates into taking more than 8,800 cars off of our roads annually.

These new clean energy initiatives demonstrate a successful partnership between VNY business tenants and PCS Energy, the solar provider that will install the panels for all of the projects. Under power purchase agreements, PCS Energy will supply the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power with 100 percent of the energy produced for the next 20 years.

Matt Petersen, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), applauded LAWA, VNY and the tenants implementing solar projects.

"Our future depends on our ability to rapidly build and implement cleantech and solar technologies like the ones we are celebrating today," he said. "Los Angeles is now a recognized leader on those efforts, with the largest green economy in the nation. That has been at the heart of my life's work and why my organization, LACI, creates critical public/private partnerships in our city and beyond. We know that no one person or organization can solve our climate change challenges, but together we can solve almost anything."

A coalition of international aviation organizations announced that an event will be hosted at VNY in January to reaffirm the general aviation industry's commitment to advancing the development and adoption of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF). "Business Jets Fuel Green: A Step Toward Sustainability" will demonstrate that SAJF can become a mainstream, drop-in alternative for today's general aviation aircraft.