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South Africa has opened the continent’s first solar-powered airport in Western Cape
George Airport, which serves over 600,000 passengers annually, has launched a clean project which, during its first phase, will contribute around 40 per cent of the airport electricity needs. Once completed, the airport is expected to be totally independent of the national grid.
The airport will generate electricity by harnessing energy from the sun tapped through photo-voltaic (pv) panels which were installed at the cost of nearly US$1mn.
Airports Company South Africa which runs the airport, hopes George Airport will be the first of nine airports under its control to run on solar energy, a first step towards running airports fully using only renewable resources.
South Africa minister of transport Dipuo Peters described the solar airport project as one that “admirably demonstrates the South African government’s commitment to clean energy generation and sustainability, as well as to our country’s increasingly prominent role when it comes to global climate change issues.”
Last year, Cochin International Airport in India became the world’s first ever solar powered airport at the cost of US$9.5mn, almost nine times the cost compared to its South African counterpart.