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World’s First Airport To Run Solely On Solar Power Set To Double Plant Capacity

The 15.5 megawatts solar project that powers the Cochin International Airport in southern India will soon see an expansion, thus adding to the airport’s distinction as the world’s first to be powered solely by solar power.

Cochin International Airport Limited, the company that operates the airport in the southern Indian state of Kerala, had announced in 2015 that it commissioned a 12 megawatt solar power project following a successful pilot that included just 400 solar panels.

The 12 megawatts project included 46,000 panels and generated more electricity than was required by the airport. The project was subsequently expanded to a capacity of 15.5 megawatts, with the excess electricity being sold to the grid. Meanwhile, electricity demand at the airport is expected to increase with the launch of a new terminal.

The airport operator will increase the capacity of ground-based solar power project from 15.5 megawatts to 21.5 megawatts. An additional 2.7 megawatts capacity shall be installed atop parking lots. The company shall install around 8,500 solar panels covering 0.225 million square feet of parking lot that will have a capacity of 1,400 cars. The parking lot shall also have the facility for charging electric cars.

Several Indian airports are looking to utilise surplus land to set up utility-scale solar power projects. The Indian minister for civil aviation had announced that as many as 143 airports around the country will install a total of 148 MW of solar capacity over the next few months.