Now Hyderabad airport plans to go solar

From The Hindu

In the next three years, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) will become self-sufficient when it comes to energy.

The GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL) witnessed inauguration of its 5 MW solar power plant here on Tuesday. The company’s CEO S.G.K. Kishore said the airport’s solar capacity would be upped to 30 Mega Watts (MW) in the next three years to meet all energy requirements.

In 2016-17 alone, the airport is expected to raise the solar capacity up to 12 MW. The installed power plant which has 16,000 modules of solar panels will meet 30 per cent of the airport’s requirements.

Even the new buildings and terminals which would come up on RGIA land as part of airport expansion plans scheduled for the coming year will have solar panels built into the design, he informed media in a briefing soon after the inaugural session.

The existing power plant is expected to reduce 70,000 tons of carbon emission every year, Mr. Kishore said. The power panels spread over 21 acres of land will ensure no escalation of energy costs in next 10 to 15 years. “When it comes to conventional power there is at least a 5 per cent escalation of costs every year,” he said, adding this would bring down airport costs in the next couple of years. The energy charges for airport is Rs. 3.5 crore per month.

Total investment for the existing solar plant was Rs. 25 crore. With the aid of banking at minimal rates, the three year solar expansion plan will see an investment of approximately Rs. 150 crore.

According to the CEO, the 30 MW plant will provide energy not just for the airport, but also for the airport city which is expected to come up. International airports, including Kochi and New Delhi were the firsts to go for solar power harvesting.

Terminal, cargo expansion

GHIAL’s expansion plans are not limited to solar power as the airport which has reached a passenger capacity of 12 million this year will start terminal, security, counters expansion the coming year. “We have witnessed robust traffic growth in the last few years. Last year, the growth was 24 per cent and this year so far, it is 20 per cent.

The idea is to maximise passenger traffic capacity to 20 million,” Mr. Kishore said.

Hyderabad airport has also witnessed high volume cargo growth, second only to New Delhi airport, he revealed. While the Delhi airport’s cargo traffic growth is 11.5 per cent Hyderabad recorded 11 per cent growth.

Pharma and defence sectors contribute most of the city’s cargo traffic. “In the next couple of years we will focus on developing facilities for perishables, food products and express cargo. Logistics is another important area of growth,” the CEO said.

Not limiting itself to Hyderabad centred cargo growth, RGIA is aiming at catchment expansion. “We are seeing cargo traffic from places such as Goa. While 15 of the cargo is currently coming from outside Hyderabad in the next two years, we aim at expanding this capacity to 30 per cent, over and above cargo expansion in Hyderabad. In the next three years, we expect double digit growth,” Mr. Kishore said.

It is stable governments, both at the Centre and State, that has enhanced Hyderabad airport’s growth rate, the company stressed.

Solar energy to light up RGIA in three years

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