Solar-powered airports are taking off, and Finavia is among the first European airports adopting solar electric power systems. The largest airport-based solar power plant in the Nordic countries is now opened at the Helsinki airport.
The power plant on the roof of terminal 2 has been launched, and the plan is to increase the size of the plant to account for 10 percent of the new transfer terminal’s power requirements.
-The efficiency of the solar cells is increasing while the costs are decreasing, so we are likely to see more of them in our airports in the future, says Henri Hansson, Finavia’s Technical Director.
The panels on the rooftop are facing south and southwest, where they will receive the most sunshine.
-The optimal orientation of solar panels is critical in Finland because we want to maximize their efficiency during the decreased daylight hours of winter, Hansson explains.
Solar panels popping up on rooftops have raised some concerns about how the reflected sunlight could affect pilots. Finavia is currently conducting an analysis on the impacts of solar panel reflections to aviation.
-We have considered the possible risk caused by the reflection, and the solar panel plant we are currently building is directed away from the runway, Hansson adds.
The photovoltaic system is going to produce a power output of 140 kWp (output power achieved under full solar radiation) for the needs of the expanded terminals. We will expand the use of solar energy after completing the west pier expansion.
-Our intention is to have a solar power plant on the west pier by the year 2020, which would increase the total solar power output to 500 kWp, Hansson concludes.
Carbon neutrality in all company’s 21 airports by 2020
The solar panels are a step on Finavia’s journey towards carbon neutrality. Helsinki Airport has already achieved carbon neutrality status, and the aim is to accomplish the same in all of the group’s airports by the year 2020.
Finavia has decided to speed up its ambitious climate programme. The aim is to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the operations of all of the company’s 21 airports to zero by 2020. Through its airport network, Finavia is a key party to the commitment of European airport companies to have 100 carbon-neutral airports in Europe by 2030.
The largest airport solar power plant in the Nordic countries is now opened at the airport, and airport buses now use renewable fuels.
Read about the construction of the solar power plant
Read more about Finavia’s climate programme