A first in Africa for solar-powered airport

South Africa’s George Airport. located half way between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, has become the first on the continent to go completely solar-powered.

It becomes only the second in the world after India’s Cochin International Airport in Kerala to run entirely on solar, being powered by 2,000 solar panels which produce up to 750 kW every day.

Just 400 kW is needed to run all aspects of the airport’s operations, so the surplus energy is being used to supply over 250 local homes.
George Airport South Africa
The Independent reports that at night or on rainy days, the system swaps to the national power grid to ensure a constant supply of energy.

According to project organisers, the town’s unpredictable weather and relatively small number of passengers – 70,000 a year – made it the perfect subject to test out the technology and judge its replicability in other parts of the country and the world.

Other South African airports, such as the cities of Kimberley and Upington, are also planning to adopt solar systems after George Airport’s successful trial period.

Since it began testing the system last year, the airport has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by some 1,323 tonnes.

For the next phase of the project, airport authorities are looking to install batteries that will be used to store energy needed on cloudy days and at night.

Airports Company South Africa says it hopes to achieve "carbon neutrality"by 2030.

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