IMPACT
08/19/2015 05:28 pm ET Updated Aug 20, 2015

India Is Home To The World's First Completely Solar-Powered Airport

The government is urging other airports to copy Cochin International Airport's power system.

One of the world’s three biggest polluters just took a big step toward reducing its greenhouse emissions and embracing renewable energy sources. 

India’s fourth-largest airport, the Cochin International Airport in the southern city of Kochi, announced on Tuesday that it is now “absolutely energy neutral,” The Economic Times reports. The airport is co-funded and operated by the Indian government through a public-private partnership. 

The airport’s energy neutrality is possible thanks to a 12-megawatt solar system consisting of more than 46,000 panels installed on a 50-acre site. The system can generate up to 60,000 units of electricity daily.

According to Al Jazeera America, the project took six months to build and cost $10 million, which the airport anticipates it will recover within five years. The panels are expected to last 25 years.

The Cochin airport's solar panels as seen from above in Kochi, India in the southern state of Kerala.
Cochin International Airport Limited/Facebook
The Cochin airport's solar panels as seen from above in Kochi, India in the southern state of Kerala.

The panels were designed and installed by Bosch Ltd., which has a five-year partnership with the airport, according to Catch News. 

The airport began testing solar energy in March 2013, when it installed a small solar plant on the arrival terminal’s rooftop, according to The Economic Times. 

The project has been seen as a model for the rest of India, and the government is urging other airports to follow suit.

India's goal is to ramp up solar capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022. Its current capacity is four gigawatts.

India has a broader goal to derive 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2022, with 3 percent coming exclusively from solar. Earlier this summer, the government rolled out new incentives to encourage developers to turn to renewable energy.

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