Chesapeake Sport Pilot – The First Solar-Powered Flight Training Facility in Maryland

Written by CSG Staff | Published on August 5th, 2020

Chesapeake Sport Pilot, a national leader in sport and private pilot training located in Stevensville, Maryland, has officially gone solar. Known for their well-maintained planes and experienced instructors, they can now add another achievement to that list: the first solar-powered flight school in Maryland.

Aerial view of Chesapeake Sport Pilot’s solar PV system

Chesapeake Sport Pilot’s solar PV system was specifically designed to offset slightly more than 100% of their current on-site energy usage. Environmentally, this PV system is expected to mitigate over 65 thousand pounds of carbon throughout its lifetime, which equates to over 31 thousand airline miles mitigated.

While the environmental benefits of solar energy are notable, the new 25.5 kW solar PV system brings financial benefits as well. This system is expected to generate over $50,000 in solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) alone, not including monthly energy bill savings. Capital Solar Group’s team also worked with Chesapeake Sport Pilot to obtain competitive USDA REAP funding and a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration’s Clean Energy Rebate Program.

Chesapeake Sport Pilot’s maintenance shop

As the lead engineer for this project, Mike Ryan knew the prospect of installing panels near a runway presented its own unique set of challenges. “Working with the FAA isn’t always easy, but I knew our team at Capital Solar Group was up for the challenge.” Despite the extra permitting delays caused by FAA approval, permitting and installing a 25.5 kW PV rooftop mounted solar system was completed within 9 months of concept. 

Mike Ryan’s team is top-notch. I contacted at least a dozen solar companies about putting solar on my commercial aircraft maintenance hangar. Most did not want to have anything to do with the red tape of such an installation at a government-owned airport. Of the few who were willing to give me a quote, Mike was the ONLY person who really understood all of the grants I was eligible for. He saved me tens of thousands of dollars by knowing his stuff. His crew was the epitome of professionalism and kept all of my aircraft mechanics in the loop during every stage of the construction as to not interrupt their work. After installation, and even after he had been paid in full, Mike held my hand through all of the paperwork required to get my rebates for my business processed in a timely manner. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better company for commercial solar installation.” – Helen Woods, Owner of Chesapeake Sport Pilot

Helen Woods has been a passionate general aviation pilot since 1998. As a flight instructor, owner, and manager of Chesapeake Sport Pilot, she is dedicated to sharing her love of aviation with others through affordable, quality flight training. Whether you are looking to start flight training, finish a rating, or are a rusty pilot wishing to return to the skies, Chesapeake Sport Pilot offers a number of training programs to get you started.

To learn more about the benefits of solar for your business, contact us today.