India’s Cochin International Airport has become the first airport in the world to run entirely on solar energy.
In doing so, it will avoid carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired power plants by more than 300 000 metric tons, which is equivalent to planting 3 million trees or not driving 750 million miles.
So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.
Located in the southern Indian city of Kochi, CIAL is India’s third largest airport for international traffic, and it’s 7th largest for domestic.
Before commissioning the 12-mega watt (MW) solar power project, the airport already had a 1MW solar power plant that can produce 4,000 units of electricity daily.
Work on the 12MW project began in February 2015 and was completed in less than six months.
Now the airport can produce 60,000 units of electricity every day with the new solar plant – which is more than enough to meet its daily requirement. And it seems size does matter in this case, the plant is spread across 45 acres of land (the equivalent of 25 football fields) and is comprised of 46,150 panels.
The project was built by German engineering company Bosch for the equivalent of $9.5 million, and because of the energy surplus the airport is planning to feed some of the power into the state grid.
Not to be outdone, another Indian airport also has big plans for solar energy. On Tuesday, Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport announced a plan to set up a 15MW solar power plant on 60 acres of land.
The Narendra Modi government has plans to increase the country’s solar power capacity from the existing 4GW (gigawatt) to 100GW (gigawatt)by 2022.