India eyes 146 MW of airport solar nationwide

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation is poised to sign off on an agreement to install vast amounts of solar PV at the country’s airports over the coming years.

The plan was formulated during a meeting between the ministry and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to discuss and review the progress of the country’s energy and water conservation measures at airports nationwide. The AAI has already overseen the installation of 5.4 MW of solar PV capacity across 16 Indian airports, but the ministry is eager for the number of airport-located installations to increase.

"So far, 51 lakh energy units have been generated from the 16 plants installed, leading to a reduction of 4,600 metric tonnes in carbon emissions," said a statement issued by the ministry. "By December 2016, additional 24.1 MW of solar power plants will become operational at 11 more airports."

According to the ministry, a further 16 airports have been identified for the next phase of the project, which will see approximately 116 MW of additional solar PV capacity added.

The AAI manages 125 airports across India, of which 11 handle international flights and 81 are for domestic routes. The government has been exploring ways to give greater purpose to many of the country’s underutilized airports, and believes that cheaper solar energy could play a role in delivering this, allied to cheaper internal air travel as India’s middle class grows.