The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has inaugurated a 1 MW ground-mounted solar project at Tirupati’s Renigunta International airport. Fourth Partner Energy commissioned the project.
The club of solar-powered airports in South India, which so far had Bengaluru, Cochin, Trivandrum, Hyderabad, Chennai, Trichy, Calicut, and Vijayawada, now has the renowned temple town of Tirupati as a member.
“Our aim is to ensure that Tirupati, along with all the airports across south India, operate completely on solar power within three years. We will also be commissioning 8 MW of installations at Hubli and Kadapa airports shortly,” informed S Sreekumar, Regional Executive Director at the AAI.
Tirupati’s ground-mounted solar installation has been spread across four acres of land, parallel to the airport runway and its isolation bay.
The AAI has informed about its expansion plans for the airport, aiming to soon make it operational 24×7, following which Fourth Partner Energy could scale the power generated from the solar installations. The excess power generated at Tirupati airport can then be routed back to the national grid through net metering.
“The Tirupati airport solar installation was quite challenging, as part of the site is parallel to the runway. For this, we had to obtain special construction permits and incorporate design changes to eliminate the ‘glare effect,’” said Vivek Subramanian, co-founder, and CEO at Fourth Partner.
The company says it has an operational portfolio of over 170 MW of distributed solar assets across 23 states, with a capacity addition target of 350 MW for FY 2020. The company is also working on energy storage solutions and developing EV infrastructure across the country, backed by TPG’s Rise Fund, which has invested $70 million in the company. As reported by Mercom in June 2019, Fourth Partner Energy will use this investment to strengthen its position in this emerging sector and accelerate its growth through the RESCO model across industrial and commercial corporate and public-sector clients.
The Airports Authority of India has been working proactively towards extending the reach of solar power to various airports across the country.
The AAI recently issued a notice inviting contractors for the operation and annual comprehensive maintenance of a 300 kW solar PV power project at Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj.
The AAI had also called Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) companies to develop a 4 MW grid-connected solar project at the Biju Patnaik International Airport in Bhubaneshwar.
Image credit: Off Grid Quest
Soumik is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, Soumik was a correspondent for UNI, New Delhi covering the Northeast region for seven years. He has also worked as an Asia Correspondent for Washington DC-based Hundred Reporters. He has contributed as a freelancer to several national and international digital publications with a focus on data-based investigative stories on environmental corruption, hydro power projects, energy transition and the circular economy. Soumik is an Economics graduate from Scottish Church College, Calcutta University.