Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Fri August 21 2015

India's Cochin International Airport First to Run Entirely on Solar Power

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | August 21, 2015

India's Cochin International Airport First to Run Entirely on Solar Power

Photo courtesy Thinkstock

India's Cochin International Airport has become the world's first airport to be completely powered by solar energy.

The airport's parent company Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) announced that the solar power plant was inaugurated Tuesday.

The plant, which generates a total of 12 MW (megawatts) of power, is comprised of more than 46,000 solar panels spanning a whopping 45 acres. Because the plant is producing 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity each day to power operational functions, the airport is technically "absolutely power neutral," the company said.

Moving forward, the plant will produce 18 million units of solar power annually, enough to power 10,000 homes for one year.

"When we had realized that the power bill is on the higher side, we contemplated possibilities," CIAL Managing Director V.J. Kurian said in a statement. "Then the idea of tapping the green power came in. We consume around 48,000 unit (KWh) a day. So if we can produce the same, that too by strictly adhering to the green and sustainable development model of infrastructure development that we always follow, that would transcend (sic) a message to the world."

"Now this has become the world's first airport fully operates on solar power."

CIAL said that the greener efforts will reduce carbon emissions by 300,000 tons over the next quarter century.

It remains to be seen whether other airports will build on Cochin International Airport's breakthrough by become fully solar-powered, but similar projects are already underway.

Denver International Airport recently launched its fourth solar power system, and Indianapolis International Airport announced the completion of the world's largest airport solar farm late last year. 

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