Solar power to boost Andhra Pradesh airports’ planning

Original article.

Vijayawada: Indigo is all set to start its operations from Vijayawada to Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad from December or January with two flights each to the three destinations from Vijayawada. It will, thus, have six departures and six arrivals a day, which will be a relief for air passengers, from the IT sector.
The Vijayawada Airport will have another facility, shortly.  

The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has decided to encourage development of ‘green’ airports. In order to transform airports in Andhra Pradesh into green airports, the AAI has started the installation of 1MWp solar power plants each at Tirupati and Vijayawada Airports. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has set up solar power plants at various locations and airports. The Vijayawada Airport Authorities has identified six acres of land for these solar power plants. In fact, the AAI has completed installation of solar power plants at 29 airports and locations with a total capacity of 12.84 MWp.

Earlier, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) became the first one in the world to be powered by solar energy. This information was given by the minister of state in the ministry of civil aviation, Jayant Sinha in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, in July. The AAI officials have confirmed this, saying that they have been asked to identify land for the installation of the solar power plant. They have identified six acres of land in the airport.

“In fact, airport environs seem quite attractive for solar projects. Typically, the land is not suitable for other uses because of the noise from low-flying aircrafts. The airport itself represents a single, large customer immediately adjacent to the project. “Furthermore, airports and airfields are frequently situated in areas where electrical rates and surcharges are well above average. Large airports may be near large cities where demand is high and smaller airfields may be in remote locations with limited infrastructure,” said a solar energy expert.

According to the CIA World Factbook, there are 41,788 airports or airfields visible from the air in 236 different countries.The data from the year 2013 includes closed or abandoned installations, but not those that are no longer recognisable (overgrown, no facilities, etc.). Not all airports have refueling, maintenance or traffic control provisions. At a high estimate, if an average of one megawatt peak (MWp) capacity were installed at these airfields, then an electrical infrastructure of about 40 GigaWatts peak (GWp) capacity must be developed there.