You are not the only one tired of paying electricity bills. Managers of the international airport in Cochin, Southern India, took the responsibility into their own hands. Three years ago they have begun to place solar panels. First, they started from the arrivals terminal’s roof and then continued around the aircraft hangar. The success of these initial efforts led to a larger endeavor. Joss Thomas (the general manager of the airport) said to CNN Money: “I didn’t want us to depend on the power grid any more”. Last year, the airport assigned the building of huge solar park to Bosch. The project stretches across 45 acres of unutilized land and it is close to the international cargo terminal.
The park has started working in August last year, turning Cochin to the first airport in the world that is powered entirely by solar energy. Tens of thousands of panels generate on average a little more than 48,000 to 50,000 kilowatts of electricity. This is the airport’s daily dose of needed energy to work properly. Cochin is the seventh busiest airport in India, according to Thomas. Excess electricity enters into the power grid. The big project is worth around 620 million Rupees ($9.3 million). The airport’s managers hope to save the sum of the project in less than six years. After that period of time, they will not have to pay electricity bills any more. From the airport also estimate that in the next 25 years the solar farm will save over 300,000 metric tons of carbon emissions used in coal thermal power plants.
The airport in Calcutta is larger and more loaded than in Cochin. Its management plans is to build a solar park on an area of 70 acres. The project should start this year. This is expected to reduce its electricity bill by a third. According to Thomas, airports generally have a lot of unused land that can be utilized by installing solar panels. For small airports, however, it is much easier to be powered entirely by solar energy because they use less electricity. Cochin is already working on the expansion of its solar park. Because of the larger international terminal currently being built, it is expected increase in consumption.