SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — If you’ve flown out of Sacramento International Airport recently, you’ve probably seen its large solar farm.

It’s the largest solar array in the state of California and helps the airport save money as well as the environment.

New energy efforts are taking flight as the airport turns to the sky to save money on its power bill.

“This project will be able to power 30 percent of the airport’s needs, and this is over a 25-year period,” said Laurie Slothower with the Sacramento County Department of Airports.

From the baggage carousel to the lights overhead, the sun is helping power your next trip through the airport. More than 23,000 solar panels are spread across 35 acres of airport land, providing 7 megawatts of power.

The $15 million project is a partnership with NRG who installed the Solar Farm at no cost to the airport.

“We have a purchase agreement,” Slothower said. “Borrego built the facility, NRG provided the financing, and now they own and operate the arrays, and that allows us to buy energy from them at a competitive rate.”

Without the solar array, the airport was paying an average of more than 9 cents per kilowatt-hour. Now it’s guaranteed solar energy at just over 7 cents per kilowatt-hour.

And unlike traditional solar panels, these use a technology that allows them to follow the sun from east to west as the sun moves.

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