NEXTracker and Borrego Solar Deliver One of the Largest Airport-Based Solar Power Plants

Sacramento International Airport, United States

Project Overview

For the more than 10 million travelers flying through Sacramento International Airport (SMF) annually, the sun powers their journey as it shines on the largest airport solar array in California and one of the largest airport solar power plants in the country. Financed and owned by NRG and built and maintained by Borrego Solar, the Borrego Solar Sacramento International Airport Project incorporates 7.9 MW of installed PV capacity across a pair of tracker-array fields. The system generates more than a third of the airport’s electrical needs and will save the airport authority about $850,000 annually over the course of the 25-year-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). 


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Project Facts

Borrego Solar Sacramento International Airport 
Sacramento International Airport 
7.9 MW
Borrego Solar



The Challenge

Regulatory requirements on airport land unique to public airports across the country pose significant challenges when solar power plants are proposed. Three inches of asphalt on the east site and irregular soft soil on the north site further complicated project development at SMF. But hundreds of hours of specialized design, project engineering, and on-site installation training by NEXTracker’s responsive support team helped facilitate the fully operational PV system, which tracks the sun’s path from east to west over the course of the day, maximizing efficiency and optimizing energy production.


NEXTracker Solution: NX Horizon

NEXTracker’s local deployment, installation and services support took flight from day one. Numerous site visits and meticulous analysis of geotechnical reports prior to the build demonstrated a proactive approach to ensure rapid project velocity by arriving with tailor-made design engineering solutions unique to each site. With no row linkages to complicate anchoring of the foundations, NX Horizon’s balanced architecture adapted to the challenges posed by the dynamic terrain. NEXTracker assisted the 12-person installation team in driving shortened piers on the 15-acre east site,where three inches of asphalt blanketed the area and risked damage to the piers. Tying off with the project’s operation and maintenance team on-site, NEXTracker provided hands-on O&M training on the tracker’s drive system, which moves easily in and out of cleaning position.



The Sacramento International Airport Project provides thousands of megawatt-hours of clean, reliable electricity to SMF, allowing solar power to flow out during the day and grid power in at night under a net metering agreement with SMUD. The airport, which seeks to reduce its energy needs by 15% by 2020, will offset nearly 289,000 metric tons of harmful carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the system, equivalent to taking more than 2,000 cars off the road and planting 4,000 trees annually.



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