Chicago hardly has a reputation for clear skies and abundant sunshine, but that has not stopped officials at O'Hare International Airport from investing in new solar panels, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.
Though the plans are not yet firmly established, officials at the CDA have asked for proposals to install solar power systems at multiple sites across the airport, largely on vacant properties. All told, these ground-mounted solar installations should amount to as much as 60 acres.
In addition, O'Hare hopes to add a fueling station specifically designed for alternative fuels from more traditional options like ethanol to more radical ideas like compressed natural gas and electric charging stations.
CDA Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino presented the proposals at the fourth annual Airports Going Green conference. The commissioner noted her agency was proud "to lead by example by implementing the most innovative and progressive sustainability initiatives at O'Hare and Midway International Airports. The solar panels will provide a substantial renewable energy source to help power O'Hare and the alternative fueling station will promote the use of clean fuels and electricity to power vehicles."
Though it has made strides in recent years, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that Illinois used only 4 percent renewable electricity in 2009.