Airports Authority of India (AAI) has installed solar panels as part of its green initiative on cargo complex of Chennai airport.The panels will take care of 80% of the power requirement of cargo section. AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra is expected to inaugurate the project on Thursday. Sources said the plant can generate approximately 5MW.”The panels are expected to supply around 80% of the electricity requirement of the integrated cargo terminal,” said an official. It will also cut down the power bill.
Currently, the airport gets power from the state electricity board. “The panels are expected to reduce our dependence on the state grid. It is also being done as part of an all-India project to have solar power at airports owned by AAI,” he added.An MoU was signed with Solar Energy Corporation of India for the purpose in 2014 to set up a 50MW plant under phase I. AAI wanted to use empty space between the runway and roof-top of buildings to set up solar panels. More than 4,000 acres of land is available with Chennai airport. The vast new terminals has a lot of space on its roof.
However, the solar panels are installed on top of the integrated cargo complex which was built as per the airport expansion programme.The new steel and glass terminals at the airport eliminate the need for lights during the day but the quantity of power required is huge for air-conditioning to balance the interior temperature with that of the exterior weather due to presence of glass walls. It also requires a lot of power for lighting at night.Chennai airport currently uses 10mva (megavolt ampere) for the new terminals, 7.55 mva for old buildings, 201kva for residential quarters and 150kva for CISF barracks.