There is no shortage of sun in Australia, and climate change concerns have made immediate action more pressing. To improve energy efficiency, costs and the carbon footprint of its operations, the Melbourne airport announced a solar farm near its North-South runway with a capacity of 12 megawatts in 2020. The project promised to produce 17 GW hours of electricity per year, about 15% electricity consumption per annum of the entire airport. The project utilizes around 30,000 solar panels to generate its output. It’s interesting that the farm had been operational for a while from the looks of the latest satellite imagery. The images from May 2021 show a complete solar farm that wasn’t there 12 months before.
Channel 9 News labelled the farm as one of Australia’s largest of its kind, Which is not precisely accurate. However, it is impressive that businesses have started to play a part in achieving Victoria’s emissions goals by 2030. The government aims to reduce its carbon footprint substantially by 2030; the current aim is an ambitious one; Victoria aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 50%.
Australian airports are golden sights for setting up solar power projects due to their expansive building rooftops, open spaces and, of course, a lot of sunshine! Melbourne airport has Other solar energy projects in mind. It’s a rooftop array on a warehouse in the business park, generating 1.8 MW of solar power. In addition, there has been news of a 100-kilowatt collection and a 140 kW battery solar setup to operate a water treatment plant. The projects are ambitious and will set up great examples of solar energy capability. However, the status of these projects is still unclear.
The Melbourne airport has been a leading proponent of emissions reduction infrastructure, efficiency and sustainable energy options since 2017. One of the earlier efforts of the airport, an on-site 8 MW trigeneration plant, is a reflection of the airport’s commitment to clean energy. Once the project was operational, it was responsible for 25% of the airport’s total energy consumption.
This project is even more remarkable because it reuses the waste heat for space heating and cooling purposes within the airport. The projections for this project alone in terms of carbon emissions reductions are impressive; the plant is expected to reduce 920,000 tons of CO2 emissions within 15 years.
Considerate of the environment
Solar energy is a better choice for businesses planning long-term and considerate of the environment. Solar energy projects are a cost-effective investment for the future that will most likely be solar. Solar cell manufacturers constantly develop better efficient cells with more accessible and environmentally friendly options to support a clean-energy lot. Australia has set ambitious targets for the year 2030. If more projects like the sustainable energy infrastructure for the Melbourne airport are put into motion, businesses can bank on a safe investment while helping the environment in the process.
Few sustainable energy options are such a win-win option, especially for sun-rich countries like Australia. Melbourne airport is not the only one that has gone solar; others like Darwin, Port Macquarie (NSW), Perth, Orange and Kerang (VIC) have active solar power projects or installed solar panel structures.
A recent study titled “Investigating potential rooftop solar energy generated by Leased Federal Airports in Australia: Framework and implications” presented a positive outlook for Australian airports. The study claimed that if twenty-one federally leased airports utilized their building rooftops to produce solar electricity, they could have the power to electrically support 136,000 homes and reduce 151.6 kilotons of greenhouse gas emissions per year!