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Ownership structures and the implications for developing airport solar projects in the USA


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Airports are continuously looking for alternative revenue streams to increase their competitiveness and grow their business.1 They are also exploring ways to use technology to run more efficiently and achieve meaningful cost savings. New revenue and savings can be passed on to anchor tenants in the form of more competitive rates and charges.2 Renewable energy has become an increasingly cost-effective business option as a result of technological advancement, market maturity and public sector investment.3 Airports have particular characteristics that enhance the financial viability of on-site renewable energy, particularly for solar photovoltaics (PV).4 Airport land and buildings can provide suitable sites for solar facilities that otherwise do not generate financial benefit. The open landscape and geographic position of airports necessary for safe airport management also facilitates the capture of natural resources that fuel renewable energy. In addition, renewable energy can directly supply an airport’s on-site energy consumption needs, defraying costs in the future as off-site energy purchasing is curtailed. While all renewable energy projects offer opportunity for airports to gain financial benefits, the ownership structure options affect how individual projects can be developed and their result.5 This paper reviews the ownership structures for airport solar projects, describes the financial and public policy factors that affect the selection of such options, and provides examples of projects that have been developed at airports in the USA.
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Keywords: airports; finance; ownership; renewable energy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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  • Journal of Airport Management is the essential professional journal publishing in-depth, peer-reviewed articles and real world case studies on airport management, finance, development, ground-handling, airport-airline relations and regulation - with no advertising or sales pitches.

    Guided by an expert Editorial Board and published in association with Airports Council International, each quarterly 100-page issue publishes original, authoritative articles and case studies written by and for airport managers, ground-handling companies, airlines and regulators, as well as their advisers, service providers, researchers and academics. Each issue provides detailed analysis, new thinking, 'lessons learned' and 'how to' guides from fellow professionals around the world that can be applied in your organisation, plus the latest research in the field.
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