Chattanooga Airport lands $3 million solar grant

photo An Allegiant Air flight bound for St Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla., lifts off near a solar panel farm recently installed at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

A $3 million Federal Aviation Administration grant has been awarded for continued construction of a solar farm at Chattanooga Airport.

The FAA Airport Improvement Program grant will fund the second part of a three-phase project at the airport, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today in a news release.

Lovell Field is the only commercial airport in Tennessee with a solar farm, officials have said.

Terry Hart, the Chattanooga Airport's chief, said earlier that the solar farm benefits both the airport and the community as it reduces internal energy costs and produces clean power for the city.

When the solar farm is complete, it will yield 3 megawatts of electrical power that will provide one-third of the airport's energy needs, according to the FAA. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from this clean energy will be equivalent to taking 200 cars off Chattanooga's roads each year, officials said.

Work is expected to begin this month and take about four months to complete the second phase. The FAA funded the first phase with a $4 million grant last year.