Kochi airport to become fully solar with 12MW plant

Cochin International Airports Ltd (CIAL), the country's first airport to be built under the public-private partnership model, is now also the first airport in the country to adorn the cap of being the first airport in the country to run fully on solar power.

The company has installed a 12 MW solar plant with more than 46,000 panels on 45 acres at an investment of Rs62 crore (Rs5.17crore per MW).

CIAL will operate entirely using solar power when the PV panels laid across 45 acres near cargo complex become functional, in the near future.

The airport will then have 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity per day to be consumed for all its operational functions, which will technically make the airport 'absolutely power neutral'.

CIAL has ventured into the solar PV sector during March 2013, by installing a 100 kWp solar PV plant on the roof top of the arrival terminal block. This was a trend setter in the field of grid-connected solar PV in Kerala.

The plant was installed by the Kolkata based s Vikram Solar Pvt Ltd. The plant was set up using 400 units of polycrystalline modules of 250Wp with five 20kW capacity Refu-sol units make string inverters.

This was a grid connected system without any battery storage.

After the successful commissioning of the plant, CIAL installed a 1 MWp solar PV power plant partly on the roof top and partly on the ground in the aircraft maintenance hangar facility within the airport premises.

This plant was installed by Emvee Photovoltaic Power Pvt Ltd using 4,000 monocrystalline modules of 250Wp with 33 units of 30kW capacity Delta string inverters plant, which was also the first Megawatt scale solar PV system in the state.

Both these plants are equipped with a SCADA system, through which remote monitoring is carried out. After commissioning, these plants have so far saved more than 550 tonnes of CO2 emission contributing to the efforts of CIAL towards minimising environmental degradation.

CIAL is now in the process of setting up a 12MWp solar PV plant as part of its green initiatives. This will come up in an area of about 45 acres near the international cargo premises. The work has been awarded to Bosch Ltd.

The project components include PV modules of 265Wp capacity manufactured by Renesola, and inverters of 1MW capacity manufactured by ABB India.

After commissioning, this installation is expected to generate around 48,000 units per day, which along with the electricity generated from the existing 1.10 MWp plants, would be sufficient to meet the power requirement of the airport.

The 12MWp PV Plant is expected to be commissioned during August 2015, CIAL said.