India’s First 100 Percent Solar-Powered Cochin Airport To Save 300,000 Tonnes Of Carbon Emissions Over The Next 25 Years
According to a press release, following the inauguration of a 45-acre, 12 MWp solar power plant, India’s Cochin International Airport is the world’s first fully solar-powered airport. It is expected to save 300,000 tons worth of carbon emissions over the next 25 years, which is equal to planting three million trees or not driving 750 million miles.
The airport’s parent company, Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), plans to sell surplus energy from the new solar plant to the Kerala State Electricity Board and and will buy back anything it needs during overcast days or at night. It is also that it is looking into other renewable energy sources taking advantage of the numerous water bodies in Kerala through dam-based solar panels and other hydro power projects.
As of May 2016, the airport will run on more than 46,150 solar panels spread across 45 acres in a nearby cargo complex, which will produce an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity daily. The airport could produce up to 18 million units of electricity, which is equivalent enough to power 10,000 homes each year.
Cochin tinkered with the idea of solar power in March 2013, when authorities installed a 100 KWp solar power plant on the roof of the airport’s terminal building. Shortly thereafter, they installed another 1 MWp on the top of a maintenance hangar. Combined, these two plants are estimated to have already cut carbon dioxide emissions by 550MT.
With the addition of the newest plant, this will technically make the airport ‘absolutely power neutral’, said CIAL in a press release.
“We are also looking at opportunities in generating power through dam-based solar panels and low-head hydro projects by utilising Kerala’s natural resources,” a CIAL representative said.
India already has 4 gigawatts of solar capacity, and using Cochin as an example, the Indian government has been begun encouraging other airports around the country to seriously consider and start incorporating solar energy into their daily operations.
Cochin is the seventh busiest airport in India by passenger load, ferrying almost 7 million people in the past year.
Check out the Cochin’s solar airport in the Al Jazeera video below: