Dominion Energy and MWAA begin construction of 100MW solar facility at Dulles airport

Dominion and the MWAA’s solar and storage project will have the largest solar capacity of any project at a US airport. Image: Dominion Energy

US power company Dominion Energy and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) have started construction work on a 100MW solar project at the Dulles International Airport.

The project will also include a battery energy storage system (BESS). The output of this system was given in a release by Dominion as 50MW, but the energy storage capacity, and therefore duration, of the BESS was not specified.

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The groups agreed to build the project at the Virginia airport in 2019, and regulators including the US Department of Transportation granted final approval for the facility earlier this year. Dominion Energy expects construction to be completed by late 2026, at which point the project have the largest capacity of any solar project installed at a US airport.

“This groundbreaking marks the beginning of a historic achievement – a first-of-its-kind renewable energy project at a major US airport,” said Virginia Senator Mark Warner. “I’m hopeful this partnership will serve as a model for future renewable energy projects across the country, paving the way for a greener, energy-independent future.”

The project is also notable for the fact that MWAA and Dominion have not signed a power purchase agreement (PPA), that would see Dominion acquire the electricity generated by the project for a fee. Instead, Dominion will receive power from the solar farm, and in return, construct charging facilities and provide electric vehicles for the Dulles airport to use.

Dominion plans to develop two 1MW solar carports at the airport, and will supply 18 electric buses and 50 electric vehicles and charging stations for the MWAA to use.

“It’s just one of many ways the Airports Authority is constantly working to be a good steward of the environment,” said MWAA CEO and president Jack Potter. “We look forward to working with Dominion Energy to help provide emission-free electricity to serve the growing energy needs of the Dulles community and the National Capital Region.”

The move is Dominion’s latest investment in solar power to expand its renewable capacity, as it looks to decarbonise its energy supply. The company plans to install between 10.8-11GW of new solar capacity by 2038, and between 19.8-24.3GW of new solar capacity by 2048, alongside its 2.2GW portfolio of solar projects currently under construction or in operation in Virginia.

The project is Dominion’s latest storage facility, following its signing of a PPA for a project in South Carolina. Dominion is required to contribute to the Virginia government’s project to build 3.1GW of storage output by 2035, and the Dulles airport project will help meet this obligation.

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