Does such a place exist yet? Are we talking about some kind of futuristic project? No, is the short answer – it is here with us right now and in operation in the sunny sub-continent of India. Cochin International Airport is solar powered and the first in the world to boast such a technological and environmentally friendly feat.
This is green-thinking on a grand scale!
One would doubt you’ll see as many as 46,000 solar panels in one airport producing some 48,000 units of energy every single day. The savings are truly dynamic and bound to raise eyebrows across the world of airport engineering teams and developers.
Between now and 2040, this solar-powered airport is expected to save 300,000 tons of carbon emissions. And it’s not surprising the government commissioned such a project as there are plenty of sunshine hours here and temperatures with an annual mean of 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
The international airport serves the giant Indian city of Kochi, in the Indian state of Kerala. Cochin is India’s third busiest terminal with only the international hubs at Mumbai and Delhi seeing more passenger numbers.
There is a dedicated solar plant here, built specifically to power the airport. The solar power plant is dotted over three distinct locations within the airport boundaries. Most of the panels are placed on the roof of the training centre but there are plants based on one massive roof of the MRO hangar and one mounted on the ground.
Amazingly, this world first in solar power and green thinking supports a busy airport that boasts some three terminals: one is for cargo, one for international passengers and the other flying in and out from domestic locations.
Although Cochin International Airport has been around since 1999, it did not become fully solar-powered until as recently as August 2015. However, one such forward-thinking environmentally profound concept in the pipeline is a self-sustainable town, which is planned to be located near to the airport and may house airport workers and hotels.
It was originally planned to be 500 acres in size but the future could see this expanding further as time goes on. As developers and airport building magnates learn of the success at Cochin International, it may well inspire a trend to build solar plants at other international airports in Africa, Middle East and Australasia.