Solar-Powered Savings: Generating Sustainable Energy and Upgrading Passenger Experiences

Parking at Rochester International Airport is so close to the terminal and inexpensive compared to MSP that our passengers often mention it as one of the reasons why they prefer flying out of RST over anywhere else. That said, we also know that parking outdoors in the winter in Minnesota can pose some challenges. Snow piles up and is difficult to remove after a few days. Second only to passenger requests for direct flights to their favorite destinations, covered parking tops the list. This is why, as part of a regularly planned capitol improvement project update to the parking lot, we've proposed the installation of solar panels over a portion of the parking lot to improve our passenger's experiences.

Aerial rendering of proposed solar-covered parking at RST.

The new solar array canopy over a portion of the parking lot would be large enough to generate electricity to cover 1/2 of the terminal building’s current power needs for a year. Solar array specifics include:

  • 765kW total solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity
  • Solar PV system producing 871,000 kWh (kilowatt-hours) of renewable energy per year
  • The system will offset over 900 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year (mt CO2e)

Rendering of solar-covered parking and EV charging stations proposed at RST.

Placing the solar array over the parking lot provides an additional benefit of cover for approximately 200 vehicles and includes twelve EV charging stations.  The project also proposes covered concrete walkways so passengers can walk into the terminal with some protection from the elements and improved accessibility.

Producing sustainable clean energy is an additional benefit the airport envisioned when making plans for the existing parking lot update. Pavement in the lot has reached the end of its useful life and poses problems for passengers with mobility issues and anyone rolling luggage from their car to gate.

Rolling luggage over rough pavement at the airport.

Installing solar panels in a location that allows the airport to improve passenger experiences, improve accessibility, and meet city and state sustainable energy goals meets many needs. The project is currently included in the City of Rochester state bonding request ($3M) and is seeking additional funding sources to cover the total estimated project cost of $6M.

Follow OuRSTory

Cover for Rochester International Airport - Rochester, MN
RST Cares Award 🏆 recognizes our outstanding employees. This month's recipient is Jen Crace from Tailwind Hospitality, Inc."Jennifer was very helpful with my purchase of earbuds. I initially purchased the incorrect type for my phone. She was able to help me quickly exchange the earbuds for the correct type. She was truly pleasant to speak with and my interaction with her was a great experience!"Thank you, Jen, for making every moment matter. 🌟 We're lucky to have you on Team RST!#FlyLocal #RSTCARES #FlyRST #TailwindHospitality ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook
🌸🐰 Whether you're enjoying a delicious brunch or hunting for colorful eggs, we hope you have a delightful time with friends and family! 🐣 💐🌼 ... See MoreSee Less
View on Facebook