A $25.4 million solar energy project now underway at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is being touted as the state’s largest and is expected to create more than 250 jobs.
Most of the new jobs will be construction related, but a Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman said several permanent jobs associated with operating and maintaining the new system is also part of the plan.
Gov. Mark Dayton joined airport officials and leaders of the Metropolitan Airports Commission Thursday morning to announce the beginning of the project’s construction. The project is expected to be complete by October 2015 and increase the state’s cumulative solar capacity by roughly 20 percent.
MSP estimates that the installation will generate about 20 percent of its total power supply when it is operating at peak capacity. The airport called the plan the largest demand reduction and energy supply airport project in the world. Construction is taking place atop two parking ramps at Terminal 1-Lindbergh, and four more electric vehicle charging stations will be installed, bringing the airport’s total to 18.
MSP said the site will convert about 7,750 metal halide lights into energy-saving LED technology. A spokesman said that over 30 years, the MAC will spend $10 million less on energy costs as a result of the project. Funding for the project is being provided by Thrivent financial at a rate of 0.75 percent.
Dayton was on hand for a report on clean energy jobs in Minnesota. On Thursday, the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development said more than 15,300 Minnesotans were employed in the field, a 78 percent increase since 2000.
This article is reprinted in partnership with Twin Cities Business.