Cochin International Airport, the seventh busiest airport in India, is now completely operating by solar power generated from its own solar power plants. By installing solar arrays on buildings’ rooftops and on near land, Cochin Airport marks the world’s first airport that can pay zero for its electricity bill.
Three years ago, the airport started installing solar panels atop the roof of the arrivals terminal and an aircraft hangar. The airport commissioned the German company Bosch to build a solar power plant on an unused land of approximately 45 acres near the international cargo terminal, and the plant was completed construction in last August.
Thanks to all the commissioning solar systems, Cochin International Airport is independent from the electricity grid and has successfully reduced stress of paying electricity bills. CNNMoney reported that tens of thousands of solar panels generate enough power for the airport’s 48,000~50,000 kWh power consumption per day, while the surplus energy is fed into the wider electricity grid.
The projects costed around 620 million rupees (approximately US$9.3 million), and the airport expects to save in less than six years. Over the next 25 years, the projects are expected to reduce 300,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.
Cochin International Airport is still building new solar systems to meet the growing power consumption. A new solar array is scheduled to be completed in this April while another project is planned for installing on rooftop of the international terminal. Furthermore, the airport is also planning to add solar panels on a canal by putting reinforced concrete over it.
“We want to continue our status as a power neutral airport,” said Jose Thomas, the airport's general manager, to CNNMoney in the report.
Cochin International Airport is a milestone for the world’s airports that are thinking of installing their own solar systems. The airport has attracted visitors domestically and globally and is a good demonstration the way to add solar for a transportation facility.
(Photo: solar power plant near Cochin’s international cargo terminal. Source: Wikipedia.)