The 48,000-50,000 kilowatts of power the airport uses every day come from the 45 acres of photovoltaic cells spread over its site – wasteland that had no use until February of last year when the German company Bosch started building the solar plant which makes the airport self-sufficient.
“We wanted to be independent of the electricity utility grid,” Jose Thomas, the airport’s general manager, told CNNMoney.A total of 620 million rupees ($9.3 million) were invested in the construction of the solar plant, which should pay for itself in less than 6 years by not having to pay electricity bills anymore. Through its subsidiary in India, Bosch built the facility in four months, making the Cochin International Airport the world’s first fully solar-powered airport. The airport is expected to expand its solar plant by the end of April to meet the increased demand from the new international terminal under construction.
“We want to continue our status as a power neutral airport,” Thomas stated.Other airports in India are planning to take the same steps towards electricity self-sufficiency. Kolkata’s international airport, which is larger than Cochin, is planning to reduce it’s electricity bill by one third by constructing a 70-acre solar plant in its facilities.