Using Renewable Solar Energy Use for The Aviation Industry; part of the Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) scheme

Context of Transport Climate Action

Civil aviation is one of the world’s fastest growing transport businesses today.
In India, the aviation sector is also seen as a major economic driver. By 2020, India will be the 3rd largest aviation market in the world, expected to handle 336 million domestic and 85 million international passengers, and projected investments of US$ 120 billion.

Controlling emissions caused by the aviation industry is an important task, although the overall amount of the sector’s emissions is small. Aviation currently accounts for only 2% of total global emissions from human activity as reported by IPCC, 2007.

In order to promote environmental sustainability at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), the management consortium Delhi International Airport (P) Limited (DIAL) has focused on limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and diversifying the energy mix by investing in renewable energy sources. Energy security issues, the economics of grid energy supply and the anticipation of Renewable Purchase obligations for bulk consumers of energy are key challenges to be tackled.

At IGI Airport, emissions from electricity consumption contribute to more than 98% of total energy- related emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2[1]); this intensive consumption of electricity from the grid has become the focus of DIAL’s emission-reduction initiatives. Participating in the Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme was a key component of our efforts to map our emissions and identify the most appropriate initiatives to manage them.

[1] Scope 1 looks at direct emssision while scope 2 includes the emissions from the engy production.


IGI Airport consumes on average nearly 200 million units of energy per annum, which accounts for the consumption of energy by airport operations plus the demand from the various stakeholders and concessionary service enterprises operating at IGI Airport.

In order to maximize the economic and environmental performance of the airport, DIAL has installed a 2.14 MW PV solar plant. It is the first airport in India to have a MW- scale solar power plant at airside premises. This measure has been taken to promote the use of renewable energy, reduce emissions and also to support the National Action Plan on Climate Change. DIAL is also in the process of setting up another 5.71 MW solar plant in the airport area. Once completed, the total contribution of electricity from solar photovoltaic plants are expected to be more than 11million kWh of electricity, which will meet more than 9% of the current demand for electricity at IGIA. Annual CO2 emission savings are expected to be around 2600 tonnes of CO2.


This mega scale solar installation is one of the unique features of Delhi Airport. The solar farm project, entirely funded by DIAL, was implemented after conducting a detailed feasibility study which included special design considerations, as the solar panels were to be placed adjacent to the runway.

The German company Enerparc, which specializes in airport solar projects, accompanied the implementation process and carried out the installation.

The project had to overcome a range of challenges such as obtaining regulatory clearance, safety concerns, positioning of panels and dealing with the glare and radiation from the panels. DIAL initiated this process by obtaining regulatory clearance from the authorities, after performing a safety impact study in partnership with key stakeholders including the accreditation scheme. DIAL also conducted a study on glare and its impact on pilots and the impact of radiation on air navigation systems, in order to ensure the safety of aircraft operation.


Benefits include:

  • Improved energy security at organizational level by reduced dependency on grid- connected power
  • Adapting to green energy and becoming energy self-sufficient.
  • Promoting renewable energy in a leading industrial sector
  • Reduction of local pollutants such as SOx, NOx, and PM .
  • Enhancing the value of Dehli Airport as a brand
  • Adoption of the national objective of promoting green power within organizational objectives, by supporting the “National Action Plan on Climate Change & Emission Reduction Objectives”
  • Becoming a lighthouse project within the Airport Carbon Accreditation scheme

Potential for scaling up


IGIA is the first airport in India to have installed airside solar panels, achieving major policy reform in terms of getting authorizations and ensuring safety requirements. As these challenges have now been overcome this knowledge can be transferred to other airports within India and solar energy production scaled up.

  • DIAL is working towards additional solar energy capacity of 5.71 MW by the end of 2015-16 and another 5 MW by the end of 2016-17.
  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships involving solar energy production and energy sharing programs will bring added benefits to airport businesses.
  • ACI and ACA can explore and present case studies on the potential green initiative benefits and possible frameworks required for a green business approach to the aviation business.

Selected references



India, Asia






Asia-Pacific, Mitigation, Aviation, Passenger, Technology


Delhi International Airport (P) Limited (DIAL)


M. Muthukrishnan, Head - Environment Delhi International Airport (P) Limited

"DIAL at IGI Airport has made a huge difference to the aviation industry by various landmark achievements in construction as well as operations.
We are proud of our achievements in operational excellence and customer servces, which also take into consideration environmental impact. Environmental and social considerations play a central role in DIAL’s strategy.
Climate Change management is a challenge for all of us. We are proud to say that IGIA is the first airport to receive UNFCC Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) registration in the world. Our solar plant and the Carbon Accreditation are other strategic steps in our management of climate change issues."
-Marcel Hungerbuehler,
Chief Operating Officer,
Delhi International Airport (P) Limited