Indian International Airport managers have taken matters into their own hands after being fed up with costly electricity bills. They began installing solar panels three years ago on the roof of the arrivals terminal. These were followed by new additions surrounding the aircraft hangar. The success of these efforts had led to a much bigger project.
Jose Thomas, the general manager at Cochin International Airport in southern India, said that they wanted to work independently from the electricity grid, Clean Technica reported.
The Indian International Airport hired Germany-based Bosch last year to construct a 45-acre solar plant on land adjacent to the international cargo terminal. The plant became operational in August, making the fully solar-powered airport the first in the world.
According to Thomas, the airport’s thousands of panels generated slightly over 48,000-50,000 kilowatts of power that the seventh busiest Indian airport used per day. The surplus energy was then fed into the electricity grid.
The gigantic project cost about $9.3 million which the airport is expecting to get back in six years by not paying electricity bills. It also estimated that the solar plant will help avoid over 300,000 metric tons of carbon emissions over the next 25 years, Daily Mail reported.
Indian Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju has told reporters that the government has pushed for other airports around the country to start utilizing solar power. Kolkata’s international airport, which is busier and bigger than Cochin’s, will construct a solar plant spanning over 70 acres this year. According to Siga Judson, the airport’s general manager, the initiative will reduce electric cost by a third.
Meanwhile, Engineers from Liberia’s airport authority has also shown interest in the solar installations. South Africa’s George Airport has also planned on developing a solar project of its own.
Indian International Airport manager, Jose Thomas, stated that most airports have vacant land that can be utilized for solar panels.