A 1.5 MW solar power plant will soon become operational at the Chennai airport, saving Rs 8 crore in annual power expenses for the facility. This would be the Úrst time in the history of the airport that it will be generating power for its consumption. According to ofÚcials, the installation of the panels on the roof of the cargo terminal has been completed and it will become operational anytime after the election verdict is out. “It would reduce the power bill for us by `8 crore per annum. We are currently paying `20 crore to the electricity board every year,” said Deepak Shastri, director, Airports Authority of India, Chennai. In addition to the 1.5 MW power plant, the airport has plans to expand solar power generation on the premises. “We have already prepared a blueprint for setting up 7.5 MW of solar plants,” said Shastri.
Solar power generation across airports in the country was an initiative of the Civil Aviation Ministry. The Airports Authority of India, which operates 125 airports, had planned to build solar power stations in 50 airports. “The government wanted us to exploit the land for non-conventional energy production,” said Shastri. “The Chennai Airport sits on over 4,000 acres of land and setting up solar plants will not only help achieve signiÚcant savings in power bills over a period of time but also result in substantial reduction in carbon emissions, apart from making airports self-sustainable as far as energy requirement is concerned,” he added.
Apart from Chennai, Tiruchy and Madurai airports are also planning to set up solar plants.The project began in May 2014 when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between AAI and Solar Energy Corporation of India. Along with Chennai, airports in Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kolkata and Chandigarh had also taken up installation of solar power panels. Last August, Kochi became the world’s Úrst airport to operate completely on solar power.