The Airports Authority of India (AAI) inaugurated a 1 MWp solar plant at Tirupati’s Renigunta International airport.

The plant was commissioned by distributed solar developer, Fourth Partner Energy.

The temple town of Tirupati joins the league of solar-powered airports in South India, along with Cochin, Trivandrum and Vijayawada.

AAI is aiming to ensure that Tirupati, along with all airports across South India operate completely on solar power within three years. It is proposed to commission 8 MWp plants at Hubli and Kadapa airports shortly.

Tirupati’s ground-mounted solar plant has been installed across 4 acres of land, parallel to the airport runway and its isolation bay. “Tirupati enjoys bright, sunny weather most of the year; the usability of solar power increases at daytime when the plant can meet over 75% of required electricity; at night, this airport is currently non-operational. Fourth Partner Energy ensured a thorough and efficient execution of this project. Switching to Solar power under this company’s expertise was a great experience,” added S Suresh, Airport Director at Renigunta, Tirupati.

AAI has also provisioned for expansion of this airport, aiming to soon make it operational 24x7; following which Fourth Partner Energy will scale up the power generated from the solar plant. Excess power generated at Tirupati airport will then be routed back to the national grid via net metering, in line with Andhra Pradesh’s renewable energy policy.

Vivek Subramanian, co-founder and CEO at Fourth Partner said, “the Tirupati airport solar installation was quite challenging, as part of the site is parallel to the runway -- for this we had to obtain special construction permits and also incorporate design changes to eliminate the ‘glare effect’. Andhra Pradesh aims to add 5 GWp of solar capacity over the next five years and Fourth Partner is looking forward to helping the State achieve this target.”

Fourth Partner Energy has already commissioned nearly 20 projects in Andhra Pradesh for clients like Bharti Polymers, Visakhapatnam Smart City, Walmart, Andhra Bank and D-Mart. The firm has an operational portfolio of over 170 MWp of distributed solar assets across 23 states; and an additional capacity target of 350 MWp for FY20.