Sunday, September 27, 2020

Chennai airport finds it hard to harness solar energy

Chennai: Chennai airport lags behind in harnessing solar energy while smaller airports have installed more generating capacity in the past few years. The city airport does not have adequate land to install solar panels to lean more on clean energy.

The airport now has capacity to generate 1.6MWp (mega watt peak) solar power from rooftop panels, while smaller airports in Chandigarh and Jaipur have more installed capacity, shows statistics presented by aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri in the Lok Sabha. Chandigarh has 3MWp capacity from ground-mounted panels while Jaipur has 1.9MWp capacity, 1.8MWp of which is from ground-mounted panels. Trichy, also smaller, generates 1.1MWp — 1MWp from ground-mounted panels.

Kolkata tops AAI-run airports in harnessing solar power, with 17MWp.

Lack of land and use of land to develop ground facilities for flights fearing a second airport will be delayed, have caused the airport to slow down on solar power generation. Nevertheless, the airport is planning to step up generation so that dependence on the grid could be reduced.

“There is a proposal to install panels on the ground for generating 6.5MWp. Land was identified in seven pockets. But some of these are close to the runway and doubts were raised whether glare from the panels will affect flights. It is still under discussion,” said an official. A huge chunk of the identified land is in the northern corner of the main runway close to the Pallavaram side. A contractor was also selected in May last year.

The current installed capacity of 1.6MWp helps the airport save around Rs 2 crore every year, the official added. “Less land is available in Chennai airport. This is a reason why panels could not be installed on the ground,” he added.

27/09/20 Times of India

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