The World's First Solar-powered Airport


The international airport at Kochi in southern India is the first airport in the world to rely solely on solar energy. Last year it won a top environmental award sponsored by the United Nations .

Five years ago airport authorities started looking for new ways to save energy . At first, they put solar panels on the top of one of the passenger terminals. The initial costs were huge, but as time went on solar panels became cheaper. The airport is expected to get back its invested money within the next six years.

Today, over 40,000 solar panels, placed on wide areas of unused land, produce enough energy not only for the airport but for large parts of the city itself. Currently, more than 29 megawatts are produced and output will rise to 40 megawatts, enough to meet the rising energy demands of the city. In addition, the solar panels absorb as much carbon as the planting of 3 million trees .



Kochi's solar-powered airport is only one of India's projects to increase the use of solar energy and reduce carbon emissions. By 2022 India is expected to increase its solar capacity to 100,000 megawatts.

The project has received attention from several environmental organisations. Especially African countries are considering moving more of their energy production towards solar power.



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  • absorb = here: to take in; to prevent from escaping into the atmosphere
  • attention = to get interested
  • authorities = people or organisations that control or are in charge of an area
  • award = prize
  • carbon = chemical element; it is in a gas that causes global warming
  • carbon emissions = gases that are sent into the air and lead to global warming
  • consider = think about something
  • currently = now, at the moment
  • demands = here: what the city needs every day
  • environmental = about nature and the world around us
  • especially = above all
  • in addition = also
  • increase = to go up
  • initial = at first, beginning
  • invested money = the money that you spend on a project when it starts
  • output = here: energy production
  • passenger terminal = big building where people wait to get on planes
  • place = put something somewhere
  • reduce =go down
  • rely = depend on something
  • rise = go up
  • several = a few, some
  • solar capacity = here: the amount of energy that the country could produce
  • solar energy = energy from the sun
  • solar panel = piece of metal, usually on the roof of a house, which uses the sun's heat and light to produce electricity
  • solely = only
  • unused = not used