Why Cochin Airport decided to go Solar
Cochin airport has achieved yet another milestone by becoming the first completely power reliant airport in the world that uses solar energy for its daily operations. The airport has become a perfect example of how switching to solar energy is going to reshape the power sector and Indian economy as a whole. Back in 2013, the airport manager of Kochi airport realized that they were paying way too much to the Kerala electricity board. Their monthly power bills were heavily eating into the profits and it was high time to look at alternative means to power the airport.
Cochin Airport’s roadmap to generate FREE electricity
Cochin airport began installing solar panels under the Indian Airports Authority’s plan to generate 50 megawatts from solar plants at 30 airports by end of 2015. As a pilot project, the airport installed 100 KWp solar rooftop panels on one of the buildings. The benefits were evident soon enough and prompted the officials to upgrade the solar installations to 1 MWp plant. Eventually, they installed 46,000 solar panels spread over 45 acres of land near the cargo area. This solar power system was expected to generate almost 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity per day, which was sufficient to meet all the electricity needs of the airport. Cochin airport’s initiative has paid off within two years and today the Airport is generating surplus solar energy which they are transferring to the utility grid. It is estimated that the cost of installation of the solar plant would be covered in next 5-6 years and then on the solar panels installed at the airport would produce free electricity for another 20 years to come. This solar plant would also avoid 300,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from thermal power over the next 25 years.
Cochin airport has become one of the best examples to establish the importance of adopting solar power in India. It has proven beyond doubt that solar power can be the best answer to India’s power woes and can hugely improve the quality of life of her citizens. The success of Cochin airport project has generated substantial national and international attention and given a boost to the government’s initiative of making India a solar super power by 2022. It has prompted the authorities to direct other airports across the nation to start investing in solar installations and replace conventional energy with solar power.
Aviation Industry: Factsheet