Cochin airport sets up 1 MW unit, Hyderabad plans 5 MW facility

Airports in India are increasingly looking to solar power. After Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) announcing last week that it had set up a 2.14 MW solar power plant, Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has said it too has set up a 1 MW plant.

Though the plant at CIAL is up and running, it is yet to be formally inaugurated. And airports of Bangalore and Hyderabad are also keen on tapping solar energy, with Hyderabad closer to a decision for a 5 MW system.

Unlike Delhi airport’s solar plant, the 1 MW facility at Cochin is spread over three locations within the airport, part of it on rooftops.

None of them is on the ‘airside,’ or on the land abutting the runway, which is where most airports abroad have their solar power systems. A 320 kW plant has been put up on the vast roof of the MRO hangar of CIAL.

Another 550 kW is ground-mounted, and the rest is installed on the roof of the training centre building, the CIAL official said.

However, the official of CIAL said the airport has plans to expand solar capacity to 10 MW, and the future projects will come up on the airside.

Incidentally, CIAL had first put up a 100 kW system, which was built for them by Kolkata-based Vikram Solar. The 1 MW plant was put up by Emvee Photovoltaic of Bangalore.

Airports and hotels typically have large area of land and are a very attractive market-base for solar, says K.M. Santosh, Managing Director, Enerparc Energy Pvt Ltd, the Indian subsidiary of the German company of the same name, a global pioneer in putting up solar plants at airports. The solar plant in the Delhi airport was put up by Enerparc.

The solar plant in the Delhi airport was put up by Enerparc. Where there is possibility of the airport availing itself of depreciation benefits, solar is particularly attractive, he says.

Today, a 1 MW solar power plant costs between Rs 6 and 7 crore and typically generates 1.5 million units of electricity a year.

ramesh.m@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 19, 2013)
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