In May of 2016, Darwin International Airport in Australia transitioned to its new photovoltaic (PV) solar arrangement of 4 megawatts. This solar arrangement is the first step of the airport’s aspiring aim of harnessing the prominent solar energy resources of the Northern Territory to meet the energy requirements of the airport.
Darwin International Airport is one of the developing numbers of airports in the world to transition to solar energy, inspired by the objective of actively managing the rising costs of electricity and a promise to save the environment.
The first stage of Darwin International Airport’s solar arrangement provided a significant amount of energy usage of the airport, and another 1.5 megawatts of solar arrangement was installed on the Airport by the end of 2016.
The Darwin International Airport already has 6 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity, which is owned and approved by the Airport Development Group (ADG).
In this first step of solar arrangement, the private sector investor Northern Territory Airports invested a total of 13 million Australian dollars, which equals 9.97 US dollars, in this solar project.
The work of installation of these 4 megawatts of solar power system started in December of 2015, and 15,000 solar panels were installed over six hectares which generates an amount of electricity that is equivalent to the electricity consumption of around 1000 households.
Darwin International Airport received the Asia-Pacific Green Airports Platinum Award of the Airports Council International in 2017 for facilities that have less than 25 million passengers per year as a result of its photovoltaic efforts.
The existing solar power capacity of Darwin International Airport produced clean electricity of 8,297 megawatt-hours during the financial year of 2019/20. According to the Airport Development Group, this electricity generation is enough to cover 84 percent of operations of the Darwin International Airport, including the operations of the Airport terminals.
The Darwin International Airport’s solar project of 2016 was forecasted to save approximately $2 million each year. This represented 35 percent of the total cost of the airport’s electricity. It was also forecasted that this project would offset about 7000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
The Darwin International Airport is planning on increasing the photovoltaic capacity of the airport by installing more solar panels on rooftops at the site of 311 hectares of the Darwin International Airport.
A new solar power capacity of a total of 4 megawatts will be added by installing solar panels on the rooftops at the site of four businesses, such as Bunnings, Osgood South Business Park, the Cold Store Facility, the car parking, and terminal of the airport.
The Airport Development Group also owns and operates the Alice Springs Airport. This airport has 1 megawatt of solar power installed, which met the 100 percent energy need of the airport in the last financial year. The Alice Springs Airport is another award winning airport which won the 2014 Major Airport Of The Year award of the Australian Airport Association as a result of a solar power project that included the installation of photovoltaic panels on the carpark of the airport, which was later extended.
A few years ago, David Baltic, the General Manager of Alice Springs Airport, said that installation of solar power is a very wise decision to take if it is seen from the perspective of a business and is also a contribution to the betterment of both the community and environment.
The investment of $5 million that is made for installing new solar power in Darwin International Airport is a part of the Airport Development Group’s capital investment and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s funding. The Commonwealth Government provided the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility with $5 billion to assign loans to infrastructure projects that are eligible across the Northern Territory, the northern part of Western Australia, and in much of Queensland.
The world’s first airport that is completely powered by solar energy is Cochin International Airport Limited, located in Kerala, Southern India. This airport has achieved this success in numerous steps, and Cochin International Airport Limited does not have to pay any money for electricity.
The projects of switching to solar power by Darwin International Airport and other airports in the world prove that renewable energy sources have the capability of meeting the energy requirements by major and complicated infrastructures of transport.
The success of these airports in solar power demonstrates that airports are a perfect location to install solar power systems due to their high requirement of electricity, and they generally have a large amount of vacant land that is subjected to limited or no shading at all.
The airport management of Darwin and Cochin used a thoroughly planned approach to develop the capacity of their solar power. They took time to identify the requirements of the airport and chose solutions that perfectly fit their purpose of transitioning to solar rather than buying solar power systems without carrying out proper calculations and investigation.
The learnings that are generated from these solar-powered airports in terms of the technology and economy have the potential of planning a major role in designing and planning airports and other infrastructures of transport all across Australia and the world. As the demand for airports and other transport infrastructures continues to increase, we can imagine how much both the economy and the environment will benefit if these infrastructures are powered by solar power systems. Want to know more about Australian Solar Industry, visit us.