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Solar canopies over Indiana airport parking lot provide shade and power » Yale Climate Connections

Before travelers fly out of the Evansville Regional Airport in Indiana, they can park their cars in a large lot just beyond the terminal.

A few years ago, there was no shelter in the lot from the hot sun or pouring rain, so customers asked airport management to build covered parking.

The airport’s executive director, Nate Hahn, says that at the time, his team had been searching for a place to install solar panels.

“We kind of had these two ideas and combined the two and said, ‘Well, can we do both at the same time?’” Hahn says.

Now, solar canopies cover more than 300 parking spaces. They provide customers with shade and generate about half the electricity used by the airport terminal.

The approach could make a big impact if used widely.

A recent study estimates that adding solar to every suitable parking lot in Connecticut could provide over a third of the state’s energy needs.

Hahn says the Evansville Regional Airport is leading by example.

“A lot of people traveling through our region are coming through the airport first. So the first experience they have at our airport is seeing a beautiful terminal and then ultimately a beautiful solar array,” he says. “And we think that shows a lot about where our community is at and where our community’s going.”

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media

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