India’s Cochin International Airport will be the first to get all of its electricity solely from solar power. The airport’s movement towards cleaner energy could also inspire airports in other countries to adopt solar power as their main source of energy.
The airport originally installed 4,400 solar panels in 2013 to test the waters of solar power. They then made the decision to fully convert to solar this past February and by August the company installed an additional 46,150 panels over an area of almost 18 hectares.
The current 50,000 solar panels have a combined capacity of 13.1 megawatts and produce a daily average of 52,400 units of electricity. However, the airport only consumes an average of 48,000 units. The solar power system supplies the airport with more than 100% of the electricity it needs.
The company aims to install even more solar panels by 2016, the equivalent of 2.4 megawatts of capacity along with another 8 megawatts in June. Thus far, the company has spent 700 million rupees ($10.5 million) on solar power infrastructure to date. The expenses are entirely recoverable in less than six years because it reduces 120 million rupees a year in electricity expenses.