The nation's 13th largest airport wanted to install solar energy but costs were prohibitive. In addition, the Metropolitan Airports Commission wanted to integrate other "green" energy innovations into facility operations but didn't know how to accomplish that laudable goal.
GreenMark approached the MSP Airport in 2011 and proposed a combined solar, energy efficiency and brand marketing program to work in tandem to finance and brand a premier environmental advancement for the airport. GreenMark knew traditional financing would not work, as the solar project had costs associated with installing solar panels on an elevated structure atop the parking ramps. GreenMark knew that combining a fast-payback efficiency program with a steady solar installation would accelerate the pay-back time for the project. The marketing program would bring new revenue to the MAC and distinction to the solar company, Utility and airport.
GreenMark melded together the energy efficiency, solar and marketing aspects of the program to drive revenue, distinction and environmental effectiveness to the project. It also ran the entire public selection process to assure public transparency for such an innovative partnership. By combining the financing advantages of all three elements, GreenMark's strategy for a comprehensive energy and marketing partnership became financeable--and highly brand-friendly. GreenMark assembled the team including Xcel Energy, Ameresco and major sub-contractors, as well as the MSP Airport and GreenMark as the main partners of the project.
The largest solar project ever approved in the 5-state area was approved by all parties, and construction is underway for a 3.1mw parking ramp-top solar installation; almost 9,000 new LED lighting units in the airport's main parking facilities and a distinctive public education, business development and branding program executed in the main terminal of the airport for the next 3 years. It will bring great value to all partners, save the MSP Airport 25% of its electrical peak hour demand and reduce electrical demand with a long-term efficiency program. The project is the largest of its type anywhere in the world and is the largest solar/energy efficiency collaboration in the Midwest.