According to reports, the GMR Group-operated Delhi International Airport has become the first in Asia to host a mega solar power plant on its premises.
A 2.14 MW solar plant has just been set up and is all set for ribbon-cutting, it is learnt.
The airports of Kochi and Bhubaneswar have solar plants, but they are of 100 kW capacity each. Delhi is the first to have a megawatt scale, ground-mounted system.
As a thumb rule, at latitudes such as of Delhi, a 1 MW solar plant will generate 1.5 million units of electricity. Delhi International Airport Ltd will save at least Rs 2 per unit of electricity over what it pays now.
An expansion of the solar plant’s capacity is on the cards.
India has 136 airports, some of which are spread over vast pieces of land.
For example, the Hyderabad International Airport is spread over 5,400 acres while Chennai sits over 4,000 acres.
Large-scale solar plants are possible. Hyderabad, for instance, can house 25 MW.
The plant has been built for Delhi International Airport Ltd by German company called Enerparc, which specialises in airport solar projects among others.
Enerparc COO Stefan Mueller had told Business Line last year that only a ‘glare analysis’ would need to be done before putting up solar photo voltaic panels on airport lands.
“Airport interest in solar energy is growing rapidly as a way to reduce airport operating costs and to demonstrate commitment to sustainable airport development,” notes the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In 2010, FAA had brought out a document providing technical guidance to put up solar projects at airports.
The Changi airport in Singapore has a solar plant with a smaller capacity. The Kansai airport in Japan proposes to put up a large, 11.6 MW system.