Environment

India's Cochin International to become world's first completely solar-powered airport

India's Cochin International t...
The new 12 MWp solar plant at Cochin International Airport stretches across 45 acres (18.2 ha) and is made up of more than 46,000 photovoltaic solar panels
The new 12 MWp solar plant at Cochin International Airport stretches across 45 acres (18.2 ha) and is made up of more than 46,000 photovoltaic solar panels
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Cochin International Airport Limited claims that the power the plant generates each year would be enough for 10,000 homes
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Cochin International Airport Limited claims that the power the plant generates each year would be enough for 10,000 homes
Cochin International Airport Limited claims that the power the plant generates each year would be enough for 10,000 homes
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Cochin International Airport Limited claims that the power the plant generates each year would be enough for 10,000 homes
The new 12 MWp solar plant at Cochin International Airport stretches across 45 acres (18.2 ha) and is made up of more than 46,000 photovoltaic solar panels
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The new 12 MWp solar plant at Cochin International Airport stretches across 45 acres (18.2 ha) and is made up of more than 46,000 photovoltaic solar panels
Cochin International Airport Limited says the mitigation of carbon emissions over the next 25 years provided by the switch to solar is equivalent to planting three million trees
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Cochin International Airport Limited says the mitigation of carbon emissions over the next 25 years provided by the switch to solar is equivalent to planting three million trees
Cochin International Airport Limited says the mitigation of carbon emissions over the next 25 years is equivalent to planting three million trees
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Cochin International Airport Limited says the mitigation of carbon emissions over the next 25 years is equivalent to planting three million trees
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It may not be the first airport to fit solar panels to its terminals, but India's Cochin International Airport is set to become the first in the world powered entirely by solar. Situated in Kochi, the airport handled 6.8 million passengers in the 2014-15 financial year and forecasts a 300,000-tonne (330,700-ton) reduction in carbon emissions over the next 25 years as a result of the switch to solar.

The Cochin International Airport, which is the first in India developed under a public-private partnership model, first dipped its toes into the solar power waters in 2013 when it built a 100 kilowatt peak (kWp) rooftop photovoltaic (PV) plant on its arrivals terminal. This was followed by a 1 MWp PV plant that was split between the rooftop and the ground at its aircraft maintenance hangar facility.

Now it scaling things up in a big way. Unveiled this week, the new 12 MWp solar plant stretches across 45 acres (18.2 ha) and is made up of more than 46,000 photovoltaic solar panels that are located alongside the cargo terminal. The airport claims that the power it generates each year would be enough for 10,000 homes. In combination with the pre-existing solar plants, the plant is expected to make the airport completely carbon neutral.

Cochin International Airport Limited claims that the power the plant generates each year would be enough for 10,000 homes
Cochin International Airport Limited claims that the power the plant generates each year would be enough for 10,000 homes

The company says the mitigation of carbon emissions over the next 25 years is equivalent to planting three million trees or not driving 750 million mi (1.2 billion km). Al Jazeera reports that the plant took six months to build at a cost of US$10 million, with the airport expecting to recover that outlay through energy savings within five years. The solar plant is also expected to generate more power than is required to run the airport, which will be connected to the grid to allow excess power to be sold to the state electricity board.

The initiative lines up nicely with the Indian government's National Solar Mission, which had originally set a target of country-wide installed solar capacity of 22 GW by 2022. This has since been upped to 100 GW by 2022, and is slated to include 57 GW in larger ground-mounted projects and 40 GW in rooftop solar.

Source: Cochin International Airport

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6 comments
caesarjd
Carbon neutral is the end all catch phrase of modern tree huggers who fail to evaluate the other potential ecological impacts of their movement. Solar isn't more pervasive for a number of reasons, but the two biggest considerations are the heavy metals required in their manufacture and the energy storage requirements. What environmental impacts will this project have relative the heavy metals in the panels themselves? How many batteries will be required to manage the power over the course of the day in anticipation of peak power? If India has developed a power storage solution that doesn't require lead/acid batteries, which are far from green, that would be a breakthrough worth discussing. This applications utilization of solar is probably more a reflection of India's grids inability to meet the airports power demands, vice a concerted Indian effort to be environmentally friendly.
ivan4
So, no night flights or even flights arriving after sunset. Likewise no overnight maintenance of any aircraft.
I assume the thing we are not being told is that either they still have a connection to the grid to fill in on dull days and also have some very large diesel generators sitting somewhere to enable continuing activity when the sun does not shine.
EcoLogical
Very few solar panels use heavy metals, most use silicon!
Tesla's Li-ion PowerWall & PowerPack storage systems are available now at $250/kWh and when the Gigafactory is in production next year, will be below $100/kWh. EOS Energy already has utility-scale Zinc-air storage at $160/kWh. Other manufacturers including Sakti3 (solid-state Li-ion) are stating their batteries will be below $100/kWh by 2020. $100/kWh over 10,000 cycles is $0.01/kWh (one cent per kWh)! All the above mentioned technologies get thousands of cycles vs a few hundred cycles for lead/acid. Who in the heck would use lead/acid batteries for energy storage any more?
POOL PUMPREAPAIR guy longwood
@ivan4 . Or a battery backup, all airports would have redundant systems, one would hope ! The use of LED lighting might help reduce the size of backup generators needed. And the total size of battery backups. Trains ''railways'' have been using Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries for years, but they only last 25 yrs or so before they replace them.
S.SubramaniamBalaji
Highly idiotic and outright stupid....Kerala is God's own country with its lush greens and putting up a solar photovoltaic park in a land that is evergreen by cutting down the trees is the worst thing that could be done....It would have been a coconut farm / other farm and by destroying it and putting up a solar farm is outright ridiculous ....if there is something in this it would only be corruption of the mind and politics and nothing else.... putting up solar farms in lush green farm lands is destruction of the worst order and nothing constructive.....why didnt they put it up in some desert land and produce the electricity, trade it with the electricity board and draw power here at the airport....Moreover in Kerala it rains like there is no tomorrow during monsoons and also other times and I very much doubt the power generation that would happen....this solar park would be a failure and I pray that it should be for the eco disaster that it is
GoForward
What a great project! So, they will have ROI within 5 years, and huge savings after that.