Adding a new chapter in the glorious track record of Cochin Airport that has become a example of sorts for airports across world, after in August when it became the World’s first fully functional solar airport.
The airport no longer pays electricity bills!
It all started in 2014 when the airport began installing solar panels on the arrival terminals and then around aircraft hangar. Fed up with burly electricity bills every month, Cochin airport decided to take the matter in it’s hand and decided to covert the airport into a fully solar powered airport.
Utilizing the vast land mostly available near most of the airports, the Cochin airport commissioned the German company Bosch to build a vast 45-acre solar plant on unused land near the international cargo terminal. The plant came online in August, making Cochin the world’s first fully solar-powered airport.
The vast panel setup is expected generate on average slightly more than 48,000-50,000 kilowatts of power for the airport.
The airport authorities had their math done carefully before they started the project. The project cost around Rs 620 million, a cost which airport expects to save in less than six years by not having to pay the hefty electricity and also avoid 300000 metric tons of carbon emissions from coal power over next 25 years.
Jose Thomas, General Manager of Cochin Airport believes that airports generally have plenty of vacant land that can be used for solar panels. But he said it’s a lot easier for smaller airports to become fully solar-powered because they use less electricity.
“We want to continue our status as a power neutral airport,” said Thomas.
Indian Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju visited Cochin in January this year and guided authorities to have other airports around the country to start using at least some solar power.
Cochin has received a visit from engineers from Liberia’s airport authority who were interested in the solar installation. George Airport in South Africa, meanwhile, is developing a solar project of its own.