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Denver planning for $1B in improvements, building solar energy system

Denver International (DIA) is outgrowing its confines and plans to spend more than $1B in improvements through 2013.

Parking lots are frequently full and two main security checkpoints and restaurants are frequently overflowing. “That used to be rare,” DIA Manager Turner West told the Associated Press. “It’s just one example of how the system is stressed. It’s not just parking. It’s security and roads and gates and concessions.”

DIA expects to hit 50M passengers this year, which is the level of growth accommodated under the airport’s previous master plan.

Airport officials are again reviewing that long-range planning to see how they can launch several projects while balancing those costs with the fees it charges airlines.

In more immediate news, DIA this week announced plans to build a solar energy system. The airport has partnered with MMA Renewable Ventures and WorldWater & Solar Technologies to build the system, which is expected to generate 3.5 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity annually upon its completion next year.

MMA Renewable Ventures will own and operate the system and sell the power to DIA under a long-term contract.