General Design Procedures for Airport-Based Solar Photovoltaic Systems
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A source of large surface areas for solar photovoltaic (PV) farms that has been largely overlooked in the 13,000 United States of America (U.S.) airports. This paper hopes to enable PV deployments in most airports by providing an approach to overcome the three primary challenges identified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): (1) reflectivity and glare; (2) radar interference; and (3) physical penetration of airspace. First, these challenges and precautions that must be adhered to for safe PV projects deployment at airports are reviewed and summarized. Since one of the core concerns for PV and airport symbiosis is solar panel reflectivity, and because this data is largely estimated, a controlled experiment is conducted to determine worst-case values of front panel surface reflectivity and compare them to theoretical calculations. Then a general approach to implement solar PV systems in an airport is outlined and this approach is applied to a case study airport. The available land was found to be over 570 acres, which would generate more than 39,000% of the actual annual power demand of the existing airport. The results are discussed while considering the scaling potential of airport-based PV systems throughout the U.S.