The World’s First Fully Solar-Powered Airport is Already Here

India is now home to the world’s first fully solar-powered airport after the unveiling of the Cochin International Airport in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Over the next 25 years, the landmark project is expected to save carbon emissions of 300,000 tons, the equivalent of planting 3 million trees.

Cochin International Airport can now boast to be “absolutely power neutral” after unveiling a new renewable-energy system that makes it the world’s first fully solar-powered airport. The airport will have 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity consumer per day, used for all its operational functions, reports the Economic Times.

The airport will be powered by a 12 MWp (megawatt peak) solar power plant that is put together with 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 staggering acres near the cargo complex of the airport.

Cochin International Airport
Cochin International Airport

A Plan Long in the Works

Parent company Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) began its foray into transitioning to solar power by installing a 100 kWp (kilowatt peak) solar plant on the roof of the airport’s arrival terminal in March 2013. This was a grid-powered system without the means to store any power using batteries. Next came the installation of a 1 MWp solar power plant that was split between the roof-top and the ground of the Aircraft Maintenance Hangar, both within the airport’s premises.

These tried and tested solar power plants have already saved more than 550 tons of CO2 emission, says a press release by CIAL.

Cochin International Airport’s new solar power station is expected to generate around 48,000 units of electricity per day and is designed to work in tandem with the existing solar plants to wholly facilitate the airport’s energy needs. Surplus energy generated is to be sold to the Kerala State Electricity Board, CIAL says.

coachin solar power grid
Cochin’s Solar Panels

Spurred on by the government initiatives, Cochin is expected to be the first of many cities in the country housing airports that will incorporate solar energy for their daily power needs.

Furthermore, the CIAL also adds that it is actively looking to alternate energy sources with Kerala’s many water bodies in close vicinity. Solar panels in dam installations and other hydroelectric projects are marked as possibilities.

Images from Wikipedia and Joe Ravi / Shutterstock.

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.