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How solar power meant zero electricity bills for cochin airport

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.

The Trendsetter

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

  • Airports are heavily dependent on electricity for running their various operations
  • Aviation industry needs round the clock uninterrupted power supply
  • Almost 50% of the operations expense of airports is allotted to power bills
  • Across the globe, airports are finding it difficult to keep profits sustainable due to burgeoning power bills
  • Aviation emissions impact ambient air quality and global climate due to CO2 emissions

Solar Power: How do Airports Benefit

Airports can benefit hugely by adopting solar power like Cochin airport. Some of the top benefits of solar power for airports are:
  • Bridges gap between power demand and supply
  • Reduces operations cost substantially
  • Increases profit margin due to cost savings on power bills
  • More than 100 airports worldwide are using solar installations to power their daily operations
  • Large stretches of land located along the runway and over airport building can be utilized for solar installations
  • Promotes green energy usage
  • Greatly reduces CO2 emissions and reduces carbon footprint
  • Long life of solar panels ensures the airports keep getting free electricity for at least 2 decades
Solar energy offers obvious advantages for the aviation industry and many other industries and commercial establishments. By going solar airports across India can help in combating environment pollution and will also help the nation achieve its dream of becoming the next solar super power.


It is indeed a great news for Indian solar industry that we are taking initiative to go solar and save earth. Recently Karnataka Government achieved a big milestone by inaugurating solar power plant in near Bangalore. We hope to India will achieve 100GW target before 2022.

By: Agni Solar Systems Pvt Ltd
Apr 18, 2018   Reply

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Great post . Thanks for Sharing

By: krishmaurya
Aug 10, 2017   Reply

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I’m from Cochin and feel proud for the success of solar power installation at our airport.

By: Abhijit Baviskar
Apr 01, 2016   Reply

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Very encouraging achievement indeed. More solar initiatives should be taken by other commercial establishments.

By: Jitender Sachdeva
Mar 31, 2016   Reply

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