Indian Airports Go Solar

Ministry of Civil Aviation Instructs All Airports To Install Solar Panels
  • Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation will have all its airports install solar panels
  • All Indian airports to emulate the experiment and success of Cochin International Airport in Kerela
  • Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport too enhanced its solar power generating capacity to 7.84 MW
  • Airports Authority of India had signed a MoU with SECI to set up solar power plants at its locations to meet its energy needs

The Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has decided to install solar power plants at all airports across India. Talking to local media on May 8, 2016 at Vizianagaram town of Andhra Pradesh, Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that all the airports will follow the example set by Cochin International Airport in Kerela. The airport at Cochin installed a 12 MW capacity solar power plant in August 2015, which earned it the distinction of becoming the world's first solar powered airport that runs completely on solar power.

Earlier this year in January, a local daily had reported that the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will generate 100 MW of solar power for the airport at Kishangarh in Ajmer district in the state of Rajasthan that is currently under construction. In April 2016, Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) too enhanced its solar power generating capacity to 7.84 MW. With this, it also became the 'first airport in the world to be registered under the clean development mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change'. The Delhi airport now plans to further enhance its generation capacity to 20 MW by 2020.

In May 2014, the AAI had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to establish solar power plants at its airports to meet its energy needs, as well as to feed the surplus power back to the local grid. Back then, the AAI had identified 30 airports to establish these solar power plants on the surplus land available with AAI and on rooftops of its structures. It was decided then that the AAI will install a cumulative capacity of 50 MW under Phase I, to be enhanced to a cumulative of 150 MW. Though no new targets are known, India has over 130 airports, which will translate into much more solar than the originally planned 150 MW.

Every little step will now count for India which is chasing a mammoth number of 100 GW of installed solar power capacity by 2022, while its current installed capacity is a little over 6.7 GW (see India overachieves target) and many analysts estimate that only around half of the government's target of 12 GW for this fiscal year will be installed (see India Solar Handbook 2016).

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