by Michael Lowrey
When a guy runs a large operation for an extended period of time with approximately zero meaningful oversight, it’s likely that things will head down some “interesting” paths. Jerry Orr was very much interested in green energy, and it showed in some of the projects the airport pursued (hybrid buses, worm composting). With Orr gone, now the city is trying to reeling things back in from some of Orr’s ventures. Case in point: installing a ton of solar panels at the airport, both between the runways and on top of the parking lots. Upon closer examination, it seems that that might not be such a good idea. As the Charlotte Observer reports:
But the parking lots could be particularly hard to build solar panels on top of, since they would require the developer to build a canopy large enough to cover all of the airport’s surface parking, tall enough to let all vehicles in and strong enough to support a huge solar panel array.
One developer who had been interested in the solar farm project spoke with the Observer on the condition of anonymity so as to not sour possible future bids with the city. He said the parking lot project would not have been economically feasible unless the airport helped cover the cost of building the canopy. It’s far cheaper to simply install solar panels in open fields.
Expect more of these sorts of “huh what?” moments to come up in the coming months.