Pittsburgh becomes first airport in world powered by solar, natural gas energy

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The Pittsburgh International Airport officially became the first airport in the world powered by solar energy and natural gas on-site July 14, 2021. (courtesy: Allegheny County Airport Authority)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) officially became the first airport in the world powered by solar energy and natural gas on-site last week.

Nearly 10,000 solar panels capable of producing more than 20 megawatts of electricity were unveiled July 14, according to Blue Sky News, PIT’s news site. The solar panels are part of a microgrid that was over two years in the making.

Nearly 10,000 solar panels now help power the Pittsburgh International Airport. (courtesy: Allegheny County Airport Authority)

The microgrid is an electricity source that can operate independently while maintaining a connection to the traditional grid, Blue Sky News explained. It’s to be powered by natural gas drilled on-site by CNX Resources as well as gas from the interstate pipeline system and solar generation.

Airports across the country have been searching for solutions to increase reliability due to several high-profile power outages that resulted in thousands of canceled flights and passenger disruptions. This power structure at PIT will serve as blueprints for others.

The Allegheny County Airport Authority Board of Directors awarded Peoples Natural Gas a 20-year contract to build, maintain and operate the microgrid at no cost to the airport in October of 2019, according to an initial news release from Peoples.

It’s reported that the generated power will be the primary supply for the entire airport, including the airfield, Hyatt hotel and Sunoco.

For more news regarding PIT, head to Blue Sky New’s website.

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