The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has achieved another milestone in sustainable development with the airport’s Agricultural photovoltaic (Agri-voltaics) farming which is scaled up to 20 acres.
Agri-voltaics, is an evolving practice in sustainable development that combines the production of food and energy. The land is used for both agriculture and solar power generation at the same time.
CIAL Managing Director S Suhas said that agri-voltaic practice is a magnificent opportunity for both the solar and agricultural sectors. The airport company had earlier experimented with organic farming on one of its solar plants on the premises of the airport. It started the process of scaling up the farming practice by incorporating the modern method of agri-voltaic procedure in July 2021.
CIAL covered agri-voltaic farming on a total area of 20 acres by the first week of December. It has eight solar plants on the premises of the airport. The biggest one near the cargo terminal has an area of 45 acres, of which 20 acres have been used for agri-voltaic practice.
Suhas said the optimum usage of available land and re-usage of water are other advantages here. It is a new sustainability model for consuming resources. “It encompasses multiple additive and synergistic benefits, including reduced plant drought stress, greater food production, and reduced PV panel heat stress. We believe that this will be a motivation for our future explorations towards reliance on food and energy systems,” Suhas added.
CIAL now has a total installed capacity of 40 MWp. Its PV plants produce 1.6 lakh units of power a day, whereas the daily consumption stands at 1.3 lakh units. CIAL’s power plants are coupled with the Kerala State Electricity Board’s power grid.