THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cochin International Airport, which became the first solar-powered airport in the country, is now exploring the feasibility of setting up of floating solar power panels in water bodies across the state.
The airport company, which has plans to become the second largest renewable energy producer in Kerala after Kerala State Electricity Board, has almost completed the work on installing 450 kWp (kilowatt peak) floating solar power panels using French technology. The project will be commissioned in a month or two.
CIAL, at present, is generating around 40 MW solar power per day to be consumed for all its operations, which technically make the airport ‘absolutely power neutral'. The surplus power is linked to the grid of KSEB. On average, 10,000 unit surplus power are being generated. Once solar power is generated from the floating panels installed on the water body near the CIAL Golf & Country Club, the power generation from the airport would scale up by 0.5 MW.
Sources said the project would be replicated in other parts of the state if found economically viable. The average price for power generated from floating panels is currently around Rs 8 per unit and price has to be cut down by around 50 per cent to make it economically viable.
The emergence of new technology is helpful in reducing the installation charge to some extent. CIAL had earlier received permission to set up eight hydel power projects having a total capacity of 62 MW in various places across the state. However, only the 3 MW-unit hydel power project at Arippara in Kozhikode is nearing completion. Other projects have run into rough weather due to various reasons, including local protest.
KSEB tops the list
KSEB has set up a 500 kWp solar plant on 1.25 acres of water surface at Banasura Sagar reservoir in Wayanad. The solar plant with 1,938 solar panels was installed on 18 Ferro cement floaters with hollow insides. Further, the Board has plans to generate 10-MW solar power from floating panels to be installed in the reservoirs. It also plans to generate 1,000 MW solar power under Oorja Kerala Mission Scheme from various projects in three years.