The Cochin International Airport in Southern India is not paying electricity bills anymore, it is the world's first totally solar-powered airport. The first solar panels started appearing over three years ago, initially just on the roof of their terminal, then on and around an aircraft hangar. The idea was clear: become independent from any external electric energy, saving money and polluting less.
With the help of the German company Bosch they could build a 45-acre solar plant - equivalent to 25 football fields - just next to their international terminal. The project was very expensive, but the airport team is confident that they are going to cover the expenses because they won't have to pay electricity bills anymore.
The solar plant will also avoid more than 300,000 metric tons of carbon emissions from coal power over the next 25 years. CO2 emissions and air pollution are serious issues in India, endangering the health of millions of people, animals, plants, but also monuments. To reduce the problem, Indian authorities have directed other facilities, in particular airports, to implement at least some solar panels in their facilities.
"We wanted to be independent of the electricity utility grid" said Jose Thomas, the airport's general manager. "We want to continue our status as a power neutral airport".