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Quad City International Airport to convert 200 short-term parking spaces into a covered lot

Quad City International Airport to convert 200 short-term parking spaces into a covered lot


MOLINE — The Metropolitan Airport Authority of Rock Island County approved another airport amenity Thursday for people using the Quad City International Airport.

By a unanimous vote the board approved a resolution authorizing the executive director Ben Leischner to sign a Power Purchase Agreement and related site lease with WCP Solar of Naperville, Ill. to construct, maintain and operate 1.808.73-k Wp direct generation rooftop and carport-mounted photovoltaic solar system.

The area will be for 200 cars and provide protection from snow and rain. The solar panels will also produce electricity for the airport and are expected to save $627,000 over the 25-year term of the agreement. Currently, the solar energy output would produce 50% of the current energy demand of the terminal facilities. The facility will also include three charging stations for electric vehicles.

The cost of the entire project for the airport is zero, Leischner said, noting that it will be only the sixth airport nationally to have covered solar parking, and will be the largest project of its kind in the state.

“All the short-term parking will be covered as part of this project,” he said. “With the agreement, we will purchase all the energy produced by the system at a set rate. That set rate is less than what we are paying from the utility today.”

He praised the federal government and especially the state of Illinois with making the deal possible, thanks to the incentives offered with solar energy.

“The federal and state incentives in the state of Illinois makes it feasible to have a financing company come out and provide the infrastructure where we get the benefit of increased amenity, decreased energy costs and kind of stabilizing the future,” Leischner said.

He estimates the increased revenue potential anywhere from $5 million to $6 million from the inclusion of covered parking in the existing short-term lot (based on yet-to-be-decided rate increase of possibly $3 per day for covered parking versus uncovered parking).

Another part of the addition will be covered walkways to both the short-and long-term lots

“Passenger amenity is one of our biggest focuses right now,” Leischner said. “We want to make sure that for people using the facility that it truly is easier. It’s a better experience.”

Leischner is not done yet with making things better for those arriving at the airport either.

“The next step will be looking at partnering with architecture firm to look at pairing the covered parking with the terminal facility, which will likely be some kind of large canopy system that covers the drive so when you pull up to the airport as a person coming from the community, you are under cover when you are getting your bags out of your vehicle and coming in,” he said.

“It will definitely increase the level of experience,” Leischner said.

The project could be underway as early as December and be completed by March, Leischner said.

Other highlights at Thursday’s meeting included the approval of a site lease that a new tenant has been added to the Quad City Industrial Airpark — Overtime Diesel — which previously operated out of Taylor Ridge.

Overtime Diesel is a small business focused on light-duty diesel repair as well as the diesel performance market, Leischner told the board. It is the first new tenant at the industrial park in nearly 20 years.


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