Kochi solar-powered airport
Solar panels which power the Kochi International Airport are seen in this picture CIAL handout

The Kochi International Airport in the southern Indian state of Kerala has become the first in the world to operate solely on solar power.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy opened the solar plant, comprising more than 46,000 solar panels laid across 45 acres, on Tuesday, 18 August. The Bosch-installed 12MWp solar plant will provide electricity to meet the requirement of the entire airport both at day and night.

The power supply generated by the solar plant will be fed into the state grid, which will then be used at night.

The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), which oversee the project, said in a statement: "Over the next 25 years, this green power project will avoid carbon dioxide emissions from coal fired power plants by more than 300,000 metric tonnes, which is equivalent to planting 3 million trees or not driving 750 miles."

Though other airports in India including capital New Delhi and Mumbai that have a 2.1MWp solar plant and 650kW rooftop solar plant respectively, Kochi is the first airport to be fully run by solar power.

The new international terminal at the airport will be operational in May 2016. Passenger traffic has also been increasing at the Kochi airport and is expected to touch 7.5 million shortly against the current figures of 6.5 million passengers.