• Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has been announced as the recipient of Champions of the Earth Prize-2018
  • This is the United Nations’ highest environmental honor, which has been accorded to CIAL for its solar initiatives
  • Award will be officially handed over in a ceremony in New York on September 26, 2018

One of the recipients of United Nations (UN) highest environmental honor – the Champion of Earth Prize-2018 – is India’s Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL). The UN has selected CIAL for its use of solar energy to power the airport and becoming a model for the rest of the world. In the meantime, several other airports have followed.

Local media reported a communique signed by Erik Solheim, United Nations global chief of Environment and executive director of UNEP for CIAL that read, “This is the United Nations highest environmental accolade and reflects your leadership in the use of sustainable energy.” The UN has officially referred to the airport as the world’s first fully solar-powered airport.

Solheim had earlier visited CIAL and the agency has now chosen the airport for the award in the Action and Inspiration category. CIAL has started with 12 MW of solar power capacity in August 2015, which has subsequently been raised to 30 MW in April 2018. The airport will further increase the capacity to 40 MW by September 2018, said CIAL Managing Director VJ Kurian, while speaking with The New Indian Express.

“By September 2018, the solar capacity at CIAL will be increased to 40 MW, with a power potential of 60 million units per annum and resulting in a cost saving of approximately 40 million INR ($58,000) per annum to the airport. This will also cut down CO2 emission by more than 900,000 tonnes over the next 25 years, which is equivalent to planting 90,000,000 trees,” said Kurian. In between solar panels, the airport authority has also made arrangements to grow organic vegetables to ensure maximum land utilization.

Last November, Cochin Airport had launched two tenders for 9.9 MW of solar (see 9.9 MW Tendered for Cochin Airport)

The Champions of the Earth award was launched in 2005 to recognize individuals and organizations for their exemplary action on behalf of the global environment. The award ceremony will take place in New York on September 26, 2018.