Visitors arriving and departing the small town of George in South Africa may find the airport to be just an ordinary one on the surface. But actually, the entire airport is solar-powered – a first in the continent, a second in the world after Cochin airport in southern India.
All utilities and services of the airport, including the control tower, escalators, check-in desks, baggage carousels, restaurants and ATMs, are dependent on a solar power station found next to a runway. Having 2,000 solar panels, the powerhouse has a 750 kW daily capacity, which is more than the 400-kW airport requirement. The excess power is returned to the municipal power grid, used by about 274 households last September at least.
Solar-Powered Airport in South Africa (Source: Western Cape Info)
Solar-Powered Airport in South Africa (Source: SolarPower)
The solar plant was installed in September 2015. And since, the airport has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 1,229 tonnes, equivalent to 103,934 liters of fuel.
Solar-Powered Airport in South Africa (Source: Pinterest)
The George Airport was built in 1977 for the travel convenience of then government minister and later president of South Africa, Pieter Willem Botha. About 700,000 passengers use the airport annually.