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Kochi, India Becomes Home for the World’s First Solar-Powered Airport

Cochin International Airport (CIAL) in Kochi, India has recently become the first airport in the world to run wholly on solar power. A 12MWp solar power plant, comprising of 46,150 solar panels laid on 45 acres near the cargo complex were unveiled two days ago, marking a new chapter in aviation history.
Kochi, India Becomes Home for the World’s First Solar-Powered Airport 1 photo
Photo: CIAL
Considering that environmental issues are one of the primary causes of disease, health problems and long-term livelihood impact for India, this announcement is even more important than the fact it’s setting a new world record.

With this investment, Cochin airport will have 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity per day to be consumed for all its operational functions, which technically make the airport absolutely power neutral. Now that’s an example you want to set considering the country’s environmental background. To be more precise, air and water pollution, garbage and pollution of the natural environment have been challenges for India for a long time. However, things have been improving quite a lot since 1995.

In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, India was the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide in 2009 at 1.65 Gt per year, after China and the United States. On the other hand, on per capita basis, the South Asian country emitted about 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide per person, as opposed to the United States’ 17 tons per person.

Getting back to the recently set world record, it’s important that we know this is the biggest solar-power project in the area, but not the only one. As a matter of fact, CIAL has bigger plans for the future too, with the next big plant being set to have 12MWp.

This will come up in an area of about 45 acres near the International Cargo premises. After commissioning, this installation is expected to generate around 48,000 units per day, which along with the electricity generated from the existing 1.10 MWp plants, would be sufficient to meet the power requirement of the Airport completely, day and night. According to the India's officials, here’s what all these mean in terms of carbon emissions:

Over the next 25 years, this green energy project 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
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