Tampa International Airport’s economy parking garage, will soon host the largest solar panel array Tampa Electric Co. has ever installed. Workers have begun installing concrete and steel columns on the sixth level of TIA’s parking garage. TECO is paying for the privilege securing a 25-year lease from the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority for $15,000 a year to place the array atop the parking garage.
The amount of power the new array will produce is about equivalent to the amount of power it will take to operate the airport’s 1.4-mile automated “people mover” train, which will be installed as part of its $1 billion master plan upgrade, now under way. said airport spokesman Danny Valentine.
Tampa International recently hired a sustainability manager and has a plan in place to develop more green initiatives, Valentine said
As an added benefit, not a single parking space will be lost to the project as cars will still be able to park under the massive panels, in the shade.
The Panels are expected to collect enough sunshine to produce two megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power 250 homes on an average day, said Martha Monfried, communications manager for TECO.
TECO has installed smaller solar arrays at the Florida Aquarium, at its own Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, and at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Monfried said.