Adelaide Airport to cut carbon emissions by 10 per cent with new rooftop solar power system
Adelaide Airport's existing solar power system
Fri 6 Nov 2015 – Adelaide Airport is to build what it claims will be the largest airport rooftop solar power system in Australia and is expected to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by close to 10 per cent. The 1.17MW system is to be built on the short term car park roof by Solgen Energy and will be more than 10 times larger than the airport’s existing system, bringing the total rooftop solar capacity to 1.28MW. Made up of 4,500 panels – enough to power the equivalent of more than 300 homes – it will be the largest private-sector solar system in South Australia. As part of its drive to be the most environmentally friendly airport in Australia, Adelaide has become the country’s first to be certified at the third level of the industry Airport Carbon Accreditation programme.
The airport first installed solar panels on the roof of its domestic and international terminal in 2007 and construction of the new solar system, which will cover 8,000 square metres of rooftop, is expected to start next month and be completed by April 2016.
“Working within Adelaide Airport’s site constraints, we engineered a bespoke solution to solve the delicate balance of optimising power output while delivering a robust business case,” said Solgen Energy Director David Naismith. “This project further demonstrates the growing uptake of solar power as an integral part of any business’s energy mix, irrespective of industry.”
It will be one of the first installations within Australia to utilise the SMA Sunny Tripower 60000TL solar inverter. The system will incorporate Trinasmart solar panels with the ability to operate independently through built-in Tigo Energy power optimisers. As a result, each panel will be able to operate at its maximum output irrespective of partial shading that may occur on the array. In addition, each panel is independently monitored and, for added safety, the entire array can be shut down at panel level from a single switch.
Adelaide Airport Managing Director Mark Young said the solar system would significantly reduce energy consumption while assisting the state government in achieving its renewable energy targets.
“Adelaide Airport’s vision is to be a top tier airport business centre in the Asia-Pacific region and further improving our environmental credentials is a key part of this vision,” he added.
In May the airport announced it had been certified at Level 3 (Optimisation) – one below the top carbon neutrality Level 4 – under the global industry’s Airport Carbon Accreditation programme for its work in reducing its carbon footprint whilst also working to guide and influence other stakeholders at the airport to do the same. It is just the seventh airport in the Asia-Pacific region to reach this level.
“Adelaide is now in rare company for our carbon reduction initiatives alongside the likes of Hong Kong and Incheon international airports,” said Young.
Recent initiatives at the airport include the construction of green star rated buildings, installation of LED airfield lighting, bicycle storage facilities at the terminal and the purchase of an electric car for staff use. “In addition, we’re now working closely with our tenants, including airlines and ground handlers, to jointly recognise and reduce our carbon footprints,” reported Young.
The airport has also developed a five-year sustainability strategy and carbon management plan, which has identified a number of future carbon reduction initiatives.