The Kolkata airport is all set to start using clean and green energy for its day-to-day operations, as its ground-mounted grid-connected solar plant, is ready for commissioning. The 15 MW plant, capacity-wise the largest one among all the AAI airports across the country, is slated to be inaugurated by Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Ashok Gajapathi Raju on December 5, 2017.
“Once the solar power plant becomes operational, we will be able to cut down on carbon emission and at the same time, do some cost-cutting,” S Raheja, member (planning), Airports Authority of India (AAI), said. The solar power plant will be able to meet the power requirement of the terminal building at the NSCBI Airport, which is around 10-11 MW per day, Raheja said.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport’s director, Atul Dixit said the solar panels have been installed across 67.5 acres of land, in the operational area of the airport. The plant will generate 1.35 million units per month and this will reduce the AAI’s power bill by around Rs 1.20 crores per month, Dixit said.
Only two other AAI airports have the ground-mounted grid-connected solar plant – Chandigarh (3 MW) and Jaipur (1.8 MW). AAI completed the installation work in six months and the total cost of the project was Rs 90 crores, he said. AAI has entered into an agreement with private power utility CESC (DISCOM), so that the excess power generated by it can be injected into CESC’s DISCOM grid and the Kolkata airport can avail power from the grid, when solar power is not available. This is called ‘net metering benefit’ and the AAI has obtained permission from the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission for it, AAI officials said.