DHL to add solar panels to cargo building at Hartsfield-Jackson

DHL Express plans to add solar panels to a cargo building at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as part of a push to make its buildings greener and more efficient.

The company plans to install the panels on part of the roof of Cargo Building C at the Atlanta airport, where it subleases space from Worldwide Flight Services. Pending approvals, the company hopes to install the 525 kilowatt solar array by the end of the year.

The announcement comes as many logistics and warehousing firms have launched plans to make their operations more environmentally friendly. The climate and health care bill recently signed into law by President Joe Biden boosts incentives to expand solar panel manufacturing in the U.S. and includes new tax credits designed to expand solar energy generation and storage.

Solar arrays at airports typically require clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration, in part because they can cause glare for pilots landing on the runways. The FAA issued a letter saying it does not object to the cargo building solar project.

At the Atlanta airport, DHL Express leases about 65,000 square feet of space in Cargo Building C, where it is growing a hub to transport international shipments through Atlanta and to the Southeast.

The Atlanta City Council this week approved a lease amendment for installation of the solar panels on the building.

Hartsfield-Jackson said in documents submitted to the city council that the project will contribute to its broader environmental goals. In February, Hartsfield-Jackson released its first carbon policy and committed to achieving 100% clean and renewable energy by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in line with global industry group Airports Council International’s long-term goal.

The airport said it would incorporate energy efficiency into buildings and find opportunities for alternative energy use.

ExploreAirport’s environmental efforts face many challenges

But Hartsfield-Jackson has for years pursued efforts to operate more sustainably, and has struggled in a variety of ways over the years, including a scrapped recycling program, failed composting center project and canceled solar project.

Hartsfield-Jackson has installed a solar array on one building of its own in a taxi hold lot. That 96 kw installation included 250 panels to help power the structure built in 2017.

ExploreHartsfield-Jackson’s green dreams meet reality

Other businesses at the airport have pursued solar projects, including private terminal Signature Flight Support on the north side of the airfield. Signature has a 60 kilowatt array with 148 solar panels at Hartsfield-Jackson, one of 27 locations where Signature has solar installed or in progress.

Credit: Source: Signature Flight Support.

Credit: Source: Signature Flight Support.

Porsche Cars North America also announced last month that it plans to install a solar power microgrid at its headquarters next to Hartsfield-Jackson.