CHENNAI: The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), the world’s first fully solar-powered airport, plans to step up power generation capacity to 40 Mw by May 2018 from 27.7 Mw at present. CIAL currently has eight plants at various locations within the vicinity of the airport and two more plants will come up by May this year, taking the airport’s total investment in solar power to Rs 150 crore.
By augmenting solar power capacity, CIAL is expected to save Rs 40 crore per annum. It will also help it meet the additional energy requirement for the upcoming new terminal, said a CIAL spokesperson. “With new facilities being added, it is necessary for CIAL to upgrade capacity of solar power generation at regular intervals,” the spokesperson added.
The company is utilising almost all vacant places at the airport to install solar panels. There are panels even on the rooftop of the car parking area.
The solar power system of the airport is managed by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).
CIAL, the fourth largest international airport in the country in terms international passengers, handled 49.98 lakh passengers in the international sector and 39.42 lakh passengers in the domestic sector in 2016-17, registering 15.06 per cent growth in passenger traffic.
The airport handled 89,41,198 passengers during 2016-17, retaining the tag of the fourth largest airport in the country in terms of international passengers. The domestic sector alone witnessed an increase of 26 per cent in passenger traffic compared to last year.