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QC Airport Installs Solar Panels

qc airport solar ribbon cutting.JPG
Solar USA President Al Busano wielding the scissors with help from Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Airport Executive Director Benjamin Leischner

The sun will soon generate half of the electricity used by the Quad Cities International Airport. Thursday it held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the installation of more than 4,400 solar panels on the roof of the terminal and carports in the parking lot.

wcp solar array.jpg
Solar USA
solar panels on another project by Solar USA

Executive Director Benjamin Leischner says the 8 million dollar project is owned by a private company called Solar USA, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. State and federal tax incentives will allow it to make money while supplying the airport with power.

"This project is a great example of a public-private partnership that cost the airport literally nothing. It was through federal and state incentives that really embrace renewable and clean energy and we were just fortunate enough to pick the right partners at the right time."

Leischner says the solar panels will supply half the airport's energy needs now, but within just a few years it could increase to 70 per cent or more, with potential cost savings of millions of dollars over the next 25 years.

Al Busano, President of Solar USA, says this is the fourth largest solar airport project in the country. And his company has completed similar projects for several local governments, schools, and companies in Illinois.