This is the world’s first fully solar-powered airport

Located in the Indian southwestern coastal state of Kerala Cochin International became the world’s first solar-powered airport in 2015, when it transformed a patch of land previously reserved for cargo handling into a 12-megawatt solar plant. According to a BBC report this new energy source provides all the power the airport needs, and even generates surplus for the state grid,

More than 1,000 flights depart out of Cochin International Airport each week. The travel hub is the seventh busiest airport in India, handling more than 10 million passengers every year., it hosts 27 airlines and some three dozen shops and restaurants — and the whole thing runs on solar energy.

Cochin International has earned lots of press and distinction for its major investment in renewable power. Most recently, the UN gave the travel center its highest environmental honor:  Champion of the Earth award, specifically in entrepreneurial vision. But the solar switch wasn’t just good for the planet — it was good for business, too.

“When we realised that our power bill is on the higher side, we contemplated possibilities,” VJ Kurian, managing director of the Cochin International Airport Limited, told Forbes India. “Then the idea of tapping the green power came in.

According to a CNN report, the project cost roughly 620 million indian rupees, or about $9.3 million. But the airport expects to make its money back within the next four years since it’s no longer paying for electricity. The emissions savings are equally enormous. The solar plant is expected to eliminate 300,000 metric tons of carbon, a sum that’s the equivalent of planting three million trees.

Now, Cochin International Airport is helping other travel centers do the same. Forbes India reports that it’s signed an agreement to lend technical assistance to three airports in Ghana which are planning to build solar plants of their own. Engineers from Liberia have also sought their expertise, while multiple airports in India are following Cochin International’s lead.

SOURCE: World Economic Forum