Airport Authority Approves Cost Saving Solar Project, Improves Short & Long Term Parking Service

Covered Parking Solar Structures Prompt Parking Lot Walkway Upgrades and Fuel Architectural Opportunities for Curbside Terminal Makeover 

MOLINE, ILLINOIS | September 19, 2019 - The Quad City International Airport will have approximately 50% of its current energy demand paid for with a new rooftop and car-port mounted photovoltaic solar system. The solar panels will be supported by new canopies covering more than 200 short-term parking spaces and newly constructed walkway sidewalks, as well as solar panels on the terminal rooftop. 

The upgrades to the airport facilities and operations were formally approved by the Metropolitan Airport Authority Board on Thursday September 19, 2019. 

Quad City Airport Solar Panel Layout Map

Following a competitive selection process, the Airport secured a Power Purchase Agreement and Site Lease with WCP Solar. The Naperville, Illinois based company will construct, maintain and operate a 1,808.73 k-Wp direct generation photovoltaic solar system. The Board also approved a $254,000 contract to upgrade the parking lot concrete walkways with McCarthy Improvement of Davenport, Iowa. 

Airport Executive Director Ben Leischner stated at the September 19thboard meeting, “This solar energy agreement, made possible through very generous State and Federal energy reduction incentive programs, will provide the airport with over 2 Megawatts of clean, renewable energy annually over the next 25- 30 years.” The agreement means the airport's investment is only staff time and it pays for none of the materials and labor to erect the new system. 

Quad City Airport Solar Car Port Concept

The solar panel covered parking system will be the largest at any airport in Illinois and only one of less than ten at any airport in the U.S. The project will include three modern electric car charging stations and is expected to save the Airport over $620,000 in energy expenses over the 25-year agreement. The Airport retains a buy-out option with WCP Solar in case owning the system benefits outweigh leasing.  

Director Leischner shared with the Board that the Authority could also realize as much as an additional $5 million in new parking revenue over the agreement period if it implements a $3 per day increase in short-term parking warranted by the added covered parking amenity. Leischner pointed out how this important upgrade will challenge the staff on how to most effectively integrate the new structures with the existing facility, namely the north facing curbside terminal facade and entrances. 

“Staff is currently meeting with architectural and design firms that specialize in airports and transportation facilities to find the right partner capable of providing a design concept for the front of the terminal,” Leischner stated. 

“The community-facing portions of our terminal haven’t seen any level of improvement in many years and need to be brought to a standard consistent with our strategic goals of being the premier air travel alternative in our region. Part of this process will also likely include a series of visioning workshops that will define a consistent look and feel of the facility, and further define development alternatives that were first presented as part of the Airport’s master plan update several years back. This isn’t a quick in and out process; there is a considerable amount of detail and deliberate interface with our stakeholders to make sure that our future facilities are reflective a future thriving region and provide the highest level of service in an ever-changing air transportation industry.” 

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