CHENNAI: Solar power could soon drive Chennai airport. Airports Authority of India is planning a solar plant that will meet the airport's requirements and the surplus power supplied to the grid.
The move is part of a plan to install solar power plants at 30 airports across the country and an MoU was signed between AAI and Solar Energy Corporation of India in May. The project is expected to generate a total of 50MW in the first phase. This will save on power bills and also reduce carbon emissions.
The new terminals at Chennai airport eliminate the need for lights during the day but the quantity of power required of air conditioning and lighting at night is huge because the terminals are bigger than the old structures.
AAI wants to install solar panels on the buildings or in the space between the runways at the airport that is spread over more than 3,000acres. The airport now spends a lot of money to keep the land clear of grass and bushes and it is felt this is a better way to use the land.
World over, solar panels are installed in the operational area near runways. Delhi airport has panels to tap solar energy. "Usually remote parking bays are opened in the space between runways. But we cannot have too many remote bays at Chennai because aircraft will have to cross the runway to reach the terminals," said an official.
Chennai airport currently uses 10mva (megavolt ampere) for the new terminals, 7.55 mva for old buildings, 201kva for residential quarters and 150kva for CISF barracks. "The idea is to meet the need for power from alternate sources using the vast space in buildings and land that is available. Details of the project, including the amount of power that will be generated at Chennai airport, are yet to be finalized. An airport-specific MoU will also be signed with SECI," said an AAI official.
AAI will also identify the best ways to store tapped energy and how the tapped energy can be used.
The airport already uses appliances that conform to Bureau of Energy Efficiency with four star rating and above, sensors and timers to switch off lights, energy efficient chillers and variable speed drives to improve efficiency of air conditioning plants.
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