The Athens International Airport is now covering two thirds of its electricity needs with solar power – a 15.8 MW facility has been added to an 8.05 MW photovoltaic unit built in 2011.
The largest prosumer in Greece is the Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos. The operator, AIA, which vowed in 2019 to drive down emissions to net zero by 2025 and cover its electricity needs with onsite production, commissioned a solar power plant of 15.8 MW in peak capacity.
It is combined with a pioneering 8.05 MW photovoltaic system that was put into operation in 2011. Together they cover two thirds of the airport’s consumption, according to the update. Design and construction lasted nine months in total, until completion in February, the company said.
Step toward airport’s carbon neutrality
The new unit consists of 29,214 panels. Annual production is estimated at 27.5 GWh, which AIA said would meet 46% of its demand. The output is equivalent to the consumption of 6,650 households, the statement adds.
It will take the photovoltaic plant that was just put into operation 23 years to prevent 71,500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, which the project developer said is the same achievement as for a forest of the airport’s size – 1,600 hectares.
A 100% coverage from an own renewable electricity source would drop emissions by 90%
The Route 2025 net zero strategy from 2019 implies EUR 100 million in investment, the company’s officials noted. An additional 45 MW of solar power capacity is envisaged to be connected to the grid by 2025 and make the airport fully self-sufficient in terms of electricity supply, AIA added. It would replace 90% of greenhouse gas emissions, the operator said.
Next segment includes batteries
Storage units will be integrated with the next solar park segment, the company said and stressed that it has filed the project with the Regulatory Authority for Energy and other relevant institutions in Greece.
AIA claimed that it lowered its carbon footprint by more than 60% from 2005 to 2021 with the first unit. The European Union’s target is to make airports carbon neutral by 2025. The 8.05 MW unit was the largest solar power plant at an airport at the time when it was installed.
Flughafen Wien Group, which runs the Vienna International Airport, put Austria’s biggest solar power plant into operation last May. The unit has 24 MW in peak capacity.