How proud we are to have another badge for the country’s achievement. United Nations has recognised the first fully solar-powered airport in the world and it’s one of our own airports. By Radhika Sikaria
On August 18, 2015, with the inauguration of a dedicated solar plant, the Kerala government had acknowledged Cochin International Airport as the first solar-powered airport. And now, it comes as a great news that UN has recognised the airport as the first of its kind in the world. Executive director of the UN Environment Programme Erik Solheim highlighted the fact that the airport has reduced its carbon footprint and has also made considerable monetary savings in the process. He also pointed out that Beijing Airport in China has signed an agreement with UNEP for sustainable development. The Beijing model is hoped to cooperate with CIAL. Solheim also suggested that a placard be kept at the airport showing the UNEP’s endorsement of CIAL as the world’s first fully solar-powered airport.
The power plant at CIAL comprises of 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 acres near cargo complex that produce 18 million units of power from solar energy. The airport also cultivates organic farms between and below these panels. Over the past few years, fresh and unadulterated produce of vegetables like pumpkin, ash gourd, and cucumber have been sold in the market and to the airport staff.
Thanks to the eco-friendly measures adopted by the CIAL authorities, it is believed that over the next 25 years, the green power project will avoid carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired power plants by more than 3 lakh metric tons, which is equivalent to planting 3 million trees or not driving 750 miles.
Conchin International Airport is the seventh busiest airport in india, with more than 10 million passengers flying in and out annually. The airport is also the first Indian airport to have been built under public-private-partnership model, back in 1999.