29 May 2020

Table of Contents for Greenitiatives


Solar success


The Cochin International Airport project has earned for itself a unique place in the country’s infrastructure development history by completely adopting green solutions like solar which makes it ‘fully power neutral’.


Located at Nedumbassery, the Cochin International Airport, is one of India’s busiest and the largest airport in Kerala. The airport has marked its place in history by becoming the country’s first to be built under a public private partnership (PPP) model. Since its inception the project has relied in sustainability and energy efficiency, two of the successful pillars supporting the growth of the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL). The project owners constantly endeavored to pursue the impossible by setting tough and demanding goals for themselves be it in originating the concept of a successful PPP model for the first time in India or building a cost effective world class airport from scratch.


Reducing the environmental footprint through energy efficient methods is one of the operational philosophies mandatorily practiced at CIAL. The recent initiative to transform CIAL into a ‘Green Airport’ is a testimony of extremely progressive intentions brought to fruition.


CIAL which has always adhered to the philosophy of sustainable development, ventured into the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector in March 2013, by installing a 100 kWp solar PV plant on the roof top of the Arrival Terminal Block. This was a trend setter in the field of grid-connected solar PV in the state of Kerala. The plant was installed by the Kolkata based Vikram Solar Pvt Ltd, wherein 400 polycrystalline modules of 250Wp with five 20kW capacity Refu-sol make string inverters were used in the plant. After the successful commissioning of this plant, CIAL installed a 1 MWp solar PV power plant partly on the roof top and partly on the ground in the Aircraft Maintenance Hangar facility within the Airport premises. This plant was installed by Emvee Photovoltaic Power Pvt. Ltd. As many as 4000 monocrystalline modules of 250Wp with thirty three 30kW capacity Delta make string inverters were used in this plant. The initiative became the first megawatt scale installation of a solar PV system in the state.


Both these plants are equipped with a SCADA system, through which remote monitoring is carried out. Through the commissioning of these plants, CIAL has so far reported achievement of savings of about 550 MT on CO2 emission and has thus contributed to the effort of minimising environmental degradation.





Inspired by the success of these plants, CIAL took a bold step to set up a large 12 MWp solar plant with 46,150 solar panels spread over an area of forty five acres adjacent to the Cargo Terminal. During February 2015, the contract was awarded to Bosch Ltd, at a total approximate cost of Rs.62.00 crore (Rs.5.15 crore per MW). The work was completed within a short period of six months.


The plant, inaugurated by the Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy became fully operational in August 2015. The plant comprises 46,150 solar panels laid across 45 acres near the cargo complex. Now, Cochin airport will have 50,000 to 60,000 units of electricity per day to be consumed for all its operational functions, technically making the airport ‘absolute power neutral’.


The project components included PV modules of 265Wp capacity manufactured by Renesola, and inverters of 1 MW capacity manufactured by ABB India. Through the installation CIAL aims to generate around 48,000 units per day, which along with the electricity generated from the existing 1.10 MWp plants, would be sufficient to meet the power requirement of the airport. This is a grid connected system without any battery storage. In addition, a power banking module has already been worked out with the Kerla State Electricity Board (KSEB), wherein CIAL gives as much power it produces (during day time) to the KSEB grid and buys back the power from them when needed especially at night. The plant is expected to produce 18 million units of power from the 'sun' annually – the power equivalent to feed 10,000 homes for one year. It will also result in a cost saving of Rs.12 crore per annum to the Cochin Airport.


The solar power projects at Cochin International Airport have been implemented by CIAL Infrastructures Ltd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of CIAL. CIAL Infrastructures Ltd. is continuing its efforts in the renewable energy sector to cater to the increasing energy demands of Kerala, and has already taken up eight small hydro electric projects in Kannur, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Idukki, Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts with an aggregate capacity of 50 MW. The airport company aims to continue its eco-friendly growth and has laid for itself it’s the ambitious vision of “Changing lives through excellence in Aviation and Beyond”.

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