CHATHAM – The Chatham Airport Commission will study ways to add renewable energy on Airport property, increasing energy independence and becoming environmentally friendly.
During its monthly meeting Wednesday, Nov. 9, Commissioners unanimously authorized a $50,050 study by Weston & Sampson and Rivermoor Energy to evaluate:
- Installation of a solar canopy in the current gravel parking lot across from Town Hall Annex.
- Installation of solar equipment in the area of the current non-directional beacon, which is planned to be decommissioned.
- Installation of solar panels atop hangars.
- Installation of solar panels atop a potential new administrative building, as mentioned in the Airport Master Plan. (There is no formal proposal to construct a new administration building at this time, nor is there any timeline for construction or completion. The Commission has applied for grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate this possibility.)
- Construction of a “plane port” similar to the solar-mounted parking lot canopy.
The study would determine how much electricity solar generation could create on site, and what percentage that power would contribute toward the airport’s future needs. The study will include estimates of total installation costs, recurring service costs, energy savings, greenhouse gas reductions, and the potential for solar glare.
The November meeting was the second with Joanna Hall, Project Manager, Weston & Sampson, and John Tourtelotte, Founder and Managing Director, Rivermoor Energy.
Hall and Tourtelotte, based on Commissioners’ initial feedback, also offered an expanded proposal including permitting requirements for solar and a conceptual study of the potential for electric planes and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft at the airport. The larger proposal would would add an additional $43,780 to the project cost.
After discussion Commissioners supported the lesser proposal but agreed to revisit the larger study if Federal Aviation Administration grant funding is available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The Airport may also be able to sell excess power to Eversource, assisting in meeting growing energy demands on Cape Cod.
In a related discussion, Commissioners viewed an initial proposal to add electric vehicle charging stations to the current parking lot along George Ryder Road. The proposal considers installation of both Level 2 (Alternating Current charging) and Level 3 (Direct Current supercharging) to meet the needs of airport visitors, patrons, and pilots.