KOCHI: The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), which operates the world’s first fully solar-powered airport, on Sunday commissioned one of the biggest floating solar power plants in Kerala.With the plant, which has a capacity to produce 452 KWh, the total installed capacity of the airport has increased to 40 MWp, helping it produce around 1.6 lakh units of power a day, against its daily consumption of nearly 1.3 lakh units, said a release by CIAL. The initiative will assist the airport in powering its activities using green energy, it said.
“The airport also achieved another milestone with this installation, that of introducing cost-effective high-density polyethylene floats, using French technology, on which 1,300 photovoltaic panels were mounted and laid over two artificial lakes located on the 130-acre CIAL golf course,” it said.The plant, which covers a total area of one acre, is connected to the KSEB power grid which is to be banked on when needed.
“Pre-commissioning trials showed that these panels, which cost around `2 crore, are producing power with maximum output efficiency among the eight solar power plants installed by CIAL on the airport premises,” the release said. CIAL founder managing director V J Kurian attributed the plant’s success to the company’s relentless efforts in bringing in new technologies and its working philosophy which is at par with global standards.
“CIAL has been reinventing itself since its formation. One of our innovations, which proved that relying on green energy is possible even for high-energy consumers like an airport, won us the Champions of the Earth award instituted by the UN. We are committed to the protection of nature and are trying our best to reduce carbon footprint,” Kurian said.
He said CIAL successfully executed the idea of total sustainability management (TSM) in its golf course where water treated at the airport’s sewage treatment plant is used for harvesting water with the help of 12 artificial lakes. The water from the lakes is used to irrigate the lawns of the golf course and now, with the installation of the floating power plants, it has taken another leap forward in TSM, he said.
Traditionally, the installation of the floating power plant costs two to three times more than that of the ground-mounted one. However, with the introduction of novel French technology, also for the first time in the country, it could bring down the cost at par with that of floor installation.The technical assistance was provided by France-based firm CIEL TERRA.
The French Ambassador to India Immanuel Lenain had visited the floating plant in December 2020 and expressed satisfaction. Following the visit, he tweeted: “Proud to visit floating solar plant at Kochi airport, built by a French firm. France and India are leading the way to promote solar energy across the world with International Solar Alliance ’’. CIAL aims to become the second-largest power producer in the state after KSEB. A 12 MWp plant is under construction at Payyannur in Kannur.