KOCHI: The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), the company which operates the world’s first airport fully powered by solar energy, Sunday commissioned one of the biggest floating solar power plants in Kerala.
With this floating solar plant, which has a capacity of 452 KWh, the total installed capacity of the airport has become 40 MWp helping the airport to produce around 1.60 lakh units of power a day as against its daily consumption stands around 1.30 lakh units, a release by CIAL said.
The initiative will sustain the airport to power its activities using green energy, it said.
CIAL said the airport also achieved another milestone with this installation as the company has introduced cost-effective high-density polyethylene floats; using French technology, upon which 1300 photovoltaic panels were mounted and laid over two artificial lakes located in the 130-acre CIAL golf course.
The plants covering a total area of one acre are connected to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) power grid which is to be banked when needed.
“The pre-commissioning trials showed that these panels which cost around Rs 2 crore to the company are producing power with maximum output efficiency among the eight solar power plants installed by CIAL at various locations in the airport premises,” the release said.
V J Kurian, founder managing director, CIAL, attributed the success of the plant to the company’s relentless efforts in bringing in new technologies and its working philosophy which is at par with global standards.
“CIAL has been reinventing itself since its formative days. One of our innovations which proved that relying upon green energy is possible even for the high energy consumers like an airport has won us the champions of the earth award instituted by the United Nations. We are committed to the protection of nature and trying our best to reduce the carbon footprints,” Kurian added.
He said CIAL successfully executed the idea of total sustainability management (TSM) in its golf course where treated water from the sewage treatment plant of the airport is used for water harvesting with the help of 12 artificial lakes.
The water from these lakes is used for irrigating the lawns of the golf course and now, with the installation of the floating power plants, it has leaped one more step forward in TSM.
Traditionally, the installation of the floating power plant costs two to three times more than that of the ground-mounted one; but with the inception of the novel French technology; that too first time in the country, it could bring down the cost at par with that of floor installation.
The technical assistance was provided by a French company CIEL TERRA. The French Ambassador to India Immanuel Lenain had paid a visit to the floating plant in December 2020 and expressed his satisfaction.
Following the visit, he tweeted: “Proud to visit floating solar plant at Kochi airport, built by a French firm. France and India are leading the way to promote solar energy across the world with International Solar Alliance".
CIAL aims to become the second-largest power producer in the state after KSEB. A 12 MWp plant is being completed at Payyannur, Kannur.