World’s First Fully Solar-Powered International Airport Inaugurated In India


India’s fourth largest international airport in terms of passenger traffic, the Cochin International Airport has become the first airport in the world that completely operates on solar power.

According to a statement by Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), a solar power plant with 46,150 solar panels has been installed across 45 acres of land – equivalent to 25 football fields – near the cargo area of the airport which supplies the airport with 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity per day, making the airport “absolutely power neutral”.

The new plant is expected to generate 18 million units of solar power annually, an amount that could charge around 10,000 homes in the country for one year. The sustainable project is expected to offset carbon emissions by more than 300,000 metric tons over the next 25 years, equivalent of planting three million trees or not driving for 750 miles.

Cochin International Airport had in March 2013 installed two smaller power plants – a 100 KWp solar PV Plant on the roof top of the Arrival Terminal Block, and a 1 MWp solar PV plant partly on the roof top and partly on the ground in the Aircraft Maintenance Hangar facility within the airport premises. The latest addition brings the airport’s solar energy capacity up to 12 MWp per day, enough to run all of the airport’s daily functions.

“When we had realized that the power bill is on the higher side, we contemplated possibilities. Then the idea of tapping the green power came in. We consume around 48,000 units a day. So if we can produce the same, that too by strictly adhering to the green and sustainable development model of infrastructure development that we always follow, that would transcend a message to the world. Now this has become the world’s first airport fully operates on solar power. In fact, we are producing a few megawatt of extra energy which is being contributed to the state’s power grid,” said VJ Kurian, Managing Director, CIAL.


The project was built by German engineering company Bosch for $10 million. “India has the potential to achieve government’s ambitious plan to increase its solar power capacity target five-fold to 100 GW by 2022, and Bosch is committed to be a part of this success story,” said Steffen Berns, President of Bosch Group India and Managing Director Bosch Limited.

For the financial year 2014-15, Cochin International Airport is the third busiest airport in India in terms of international passenger traffic ferrying over 3,751,225 passengers and seventh busiest airport in India carrying 6,814,867 passengers.

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