Tirupati: In a significant move, the international airport at the pilgrim city was equipped with solar plant to provide clean energy by conserving power and protecting the environment. This will also help in reducing the electricity bill. As the importance of renewable energy is growing, one after another several public institutions as well as private firms have been taking steps to establish solar power plants and producing the power to meet their demand at least to some extent. Also Read – Telugu Day fete held at DPS Advertise With Us Tirupati airport was no exception to this as it also followed suit by setting up the 1 Megawatt (MW) solar plant that could meet over 75 per cent of airport’s daytime electricity demand. Though operating international flights from this airport was still a distant dream, the domestic services have been increasing along with the footfall. As such, the power requirement was also going upwards steeply. With this the airport has joined the league of solar powered airports in South India along with Cochin, Trivandrum and Vijayawada. Also Read – Second batch of banking course begins Advertise With Us The Airports Authority of India (AAI)’s Regional Executive Director S Srikumar has inaugurated the plant recently, which was commissioned by India’s leading distributed solar developer, ‘Fourth Partner Energy’. According to Srikumar, the aim was to ensure Tirupati along with all airports across South India operate completely on solar power within three years. They are also planning to commission 8 MW plants at Hubli and Kadapa airports shortly. Advertise With Us The plant at Tirupati airport was installed across four acres of land. It enjoys bright, sunny weather most of the year and the usability of solar power increases at daytime. The airport is currently non-operational during night-time. Tirupati Airport Director S Suresh has said that switching to solar power under Fourth Partner Energy’s expertise was a great experience. Needless to say that the AAI has envisaged expansion of this airport and to make it operational round-the-clock which may require additional solar power also forcing the company to take steps in that direction. The net metering was installed to this plant through which the excess power generated at the airport will be routed back to the national grid. However, the cofounder and CEO at Fourth Partner Vivek Subramanian has observed that it was quite challenging to install solar plant at Tirupati airport as the site was parallel to the runway. This necessitated them to obtain special construction permits and also incorporate design changes to eliminate glare effect. He said that AP was aiming to add five Gigawatt (GW) solar capacity over the next five years and they are looking forward helping the State to achieve this target.