Welcome to Cochin International Airport, nestled in the southwest coast of India. Last year the state of Cochin started transitioning it’s international airport to 100% solar power, by laying 46,150 solar panels across 45 acres in a cargo complex next to the installation. It was expected to save 300,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over a span of 25 years. To put this in to perspective, this solar farm was to contribute to the environment the equivalent to planting 3 million trees, and produce the power equivalent of running 10,000 houses each year
Cochin International commissioned the German firm Bosch to turn an unused plot of land into a solar power plant. The airport uses approximately 48,000 – 50,000 kilowatts of power daily, with high hopes that the new solar farm could ease some of the strain on the grid. Jose Thomas, the general manager of Cochin International Airport, told CNNMoney “We wanted to be independent of the electricity utility grid”.
They achieved that and then some. The airport has completely stopped paying for electricity, in fact, they are now selling the excess energy in order to pay back some of the 620 million rupees ($9.2 million US) it cost to install the solar panels.
The transition was so successful that the Indian government is now looking at installing the same type of structure on a 70 acre plot of land near the busier Kolkata International Airport. This is an amazing time for renewable energy in India given that the country is home to 13 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world. If Kolkata has the same success, India will estimate saving over 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over the next 25 years.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the coal deposits we know about will only produce enough energy to take us as far as 2088. Now if we can get the rest of the world to follow suit.