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Cochin International Airport Expands 'Agrivoltaic' Farming to 20 Acres of Solar Farm

Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has reached another milestone in sustainable development by expanding its agri-voltaic farming to 20 acres, making it the country's largest Airport that incorporates Agrivoltaic farming in its bounds.

Abin Joseph
Solar Farm In Cochin International Airport
Solar Farm In Cochin International Airport

Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) has reached another milestone in sustainable development by expanding its agri-voltaic farming to 20 acres, making it the country's largest Airport that incorporates Agrivoltaic farming in its bounds. 

Agricultural photovoltaic (Agri-PV), also known as Agrivoltaics or Agri-solar, is a type of photovoltaic system used in agriculture. A growing trend in sustainable development that combines the production of food with the generation of energy and vitality. At the same time, the area is used for agricultural and solar power generation. 

CIAL, the world's first airport fully powered by solar energy, had earlier experimented with organic farming on one of its solar plants too. In July, it began the process of expanding the agricultural technique by adopting a sophisticated Agrivoltaic approach. The firm was able to cover agri-voltaic farming on a total of 20 acres by the first week of December. 

Characteristics 

It contains eight solar facilities, the largest of which is near the cargo port and covers 45 acres, with 20 acres dedicated to Agri-Voltaics. Yam, long-yard bean, drumstick, mountain ginger, turmeric, cabbage, cauliflower, and green chilli are among the vegetables grown. 

Water that was previously utilised to clean solar photovoltaic panels is now being used to irrigate crops. They are projected to change the micro-climates beneath PV modules by lowering the temperature, resulting in increased power generation efficiency. Furthermore, crop coverage between PV arrays will prevent soil erosion and hence reduce dust load on the PV module. Another benefit of the culture is that it reduces weed growth beneath the PV panel mounting. 

"Agri-voltaic practice is a magnificent opportunity for both the solar and agricultural sectors. Through its implementation, we can fully tap into the synergies that will make a win-win situation for the cultivation of crops and production of renewable energy," said S. Suhas MD of CIAL. 

He also said that “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," By attaining both power generation and agricultural yield, APV will overcome its current unstable predicament where it has to choose between yield or energy generation. 

CIAL now has a total capacity of 40 MWp installed. Its PV plants generate 1.6 lakh units of electricity per day, but daily consumption is 13 lakh units. 

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