World’s First Solar Powered Airport Opens In Cochin

India has built the world’s first power neutral airport, saving 18 million units of power per year.

AsianScientist (Aug. 24, 2015) – Cochin International airport (CIAL), India’s first airport built under public-private partnership model, has become the first airport in the world run completely on solar power. It’s latest 12 MWp solar power plant, comprising of 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 acres near cargo complex, was inaugurated on August 18 by Chief Minister of Kerala, Mr. Oommen Chandy.

Cochin airport’s solar power plant produces 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity per day, which technically makes the airport ‘absolutely power neutral.’

CIAL ventured into the solar photovoltaics (PV) sector in March 2013, by installing a 100 kWp solar PV plant on the roof top of its arrival terminal block. After the successful commissioning of this first plant, CIAL installed a 1 MWp solar PV power plant partly on the roof top and partly on the ground in the aircraft maintenance hangar facility within the airport premises. With 4,000 monocrystalline modules of 250Wp and thirty-three 30kW capacity Delta make string inverters, the second power plant was the first megawatt scale installation of solar PV system in the State of Kerala.

Both these plants are equipped with a supervisory control and data acquisition system, through which remote monitoring is carried out. Since their commissioning, these plants have so far saved more than 550 metric ton of carbon dioxide emission.

Inspired by the success of the above plants, CIAL decided to set up a larger scale 12MWp solar PV plant as part of its green initiative. This was set up in an area of about 45 acres near the international cargo complex. The work has been awarded to Bosch Limited.

The project components include PV modules of 265Wp capacity manufactured by Renesola, and inverters of 1 MWp capacity manufactured by ABB India. With the commissioning, this installation is expected to generate around 48,000 units per day. Along with the electricity generated from the existing 1.10 MWp plants, the airport makes the total output of around 52,000 units a day.

This would be sufficient to meet the power requirement of the airport. This is a grid connected system without battery storage and a power banking module with the Kerala State electricity board (KSEB) has been worked out. CIAL gives as much power it produces (in day time) to the grid of KSEB and buys back the power from them when needed (especially in night).

“When we had realized that the power bill is on the higher side, we contemplated [the] possibilities. Then the idea of tapping the green energy came in. We consume around 48,000 units (KWh) a day. So if we can produce the same, that would send a message to the world,” said Mr. V.J. Kurian, managing director of CIAL.

“In fact, we are producing a few megawatt of extra energy, which is being contributed to the state’s power grid,” Kurian added.

This plant will produce 18 million units of power from the sun annually. This amount of power is enough to provide for 10,000 homes for one year. Over the next 25 years, this green power project will avoid carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired power plants by more than three lakh metric tons, which is equivalent to planting three million trees or not driving 750 miles.


Source: Cochin International Airport Limited.
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