FAA officials will be in Penn Yan next week to inspect a first-in-the-nation project to test solar lighting at smaller airports.
The lights were installed in September 2021. Runway and taxiway edge lights, obstruction lights, elevated runway guard lights, windsocks, and signs are lit with their own solar panels and battery supplies, according to FAA officials. Yates County Administrator Nonie Flynn says the installation will be tested for a year with an eye toward putting similar systems into airports that aren’t able or can’t afford to run lighting off the power grid.
The FAA’s Ryan King noted a side benefit should solar-powered lighting prove safe and reliable. Many of these airports are in rural areas that don’t have immediate access to medical or other emergency services. A better-equipped airport could become a lifesaving option in times of crisis. “There’s also an equity piece to making these small airports more accessible to more flights and to more people,” he said.
Additional test sites will be chosen this year in Arizona, Washington and Oklahoma. Listen to my full Inside the FLX conversation with Yates County Administrator Nonie Flynn below.