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Mon September 27 2021

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Solarcentury picked for Kenyan airport solar project

1 Nov 18 UK-based Solarcentury is to install a 500kW solar system at Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Kenya.

It has signed a contract with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for the ground-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system, which is expected to generate 820,000 kWh per year and offset 1,300 tonnes of CO₂ annually. The system will be connected to the airport terminal grid; consumption of the solar power will be prioritised over the grid.

Solarcentury will also install airport gate electrification equipment consisting of a mobile electric-powered pre-conditioned air (PCA) unit, a ground power unit (GPU) converter and a battery storage system that will provide uninterrupted power to the PCA and GPU whilst in use.

The electricity generated from the solar photovoltaic panels will power the gate equipment, which will supply pre-conditioned air and compatible electric power respectively to aircraft docked at an existing passenger boarding bridge or parked at a remote stand.

The systems will eliminate existing carbon emissions from existing units powered by jet fuel and diesel, by providing aircraft with pre-conditioned air and compatible electricity that runs on solar energy during ground operations.

Solarcentury East Africa director Guy Lawrence said: “This is an exciting project for Solarcentury as it not only heralds the first international airport in East Africa to turn to solar PV and battery storage, but it also entails the addition of the PCA and GPU to enable arriving aircraft to offset all their carbon emissions on the ground.”

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The project is part of a €6.5m (£5.7m) initiative, entitled ‘Capacity Building for CO2 Mitigation from International Aviation’, implemented by ICAO and funded by the European Union. The initiative targets 14 countries – 12 of them from Africa and two from the Caribbean region – to reduce CO2 emissions in the aviation sector.

ICAO Deputy Director Environment Jane Hupesaid: “The implementation of these ‘solar-at-gate’ projects is a good example of how to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve greater sustainability in the aviation sector by using renewable energy technology. There is a great interest from ICAO member states to embark on these projects and the availability of funding from partners will allow ICAO to support their replication at a global scale.”

Kenya Airports Authority managing director Jonny Andersen said: “we are excited to be the premier airports authority in the region to have the Solar PV system installed. The expected savings on electricity as well as reduction in carbon emissions will contribute towards the efficient operations of Moi International Airport.”

Work on the site will take 10 months and the systems are expected to start generating solar electricity next year. Solarcentury will provide two years of operations and maintenance on the system, and will set up two educational kiosks inside the terminal building to provide the public with real-time information on power output and carbon emission reductions over the life of the system.

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