Vienna Airport already produces about two million kilowatt hours of electricity annually thanks to the four photovoltaic plants in operation. In the future, it will double its own yearly electricity generation to more than three million kilowatt hours. Moreover, 2,500 solar modules will be installed on the roofs of Park Garages 3 and 8. As a result, the built-up solar panel surface area will increase to about 16,000 m², corresponding to approximately the size of three soccer fields. The expansion of solar energy should help Vienna Airport to reduce its CO2 emissions by about 1,800 tonnes per year.
“We have already cut CO2 emissions by 70% and energy consumption by 40% since the year 2011. This is good, but not enough. We have a clearly defined objective to become one of the very first large CO2 neutral airports before 2030. Our own electricity production will play a major role in these efforts. For this reason, we are expanding the number of photovoltaic plants from four to seven next year”, explained Günther Ofner, Member of the Management Board of Flughafen Wien AG, at today’s press briefing.
From electricity consumer to producer – Photovoltaics at Vienna Airport
Vienna Airport has already been relying on the power of the sun for several years. Initially, two photovoltaic facilities covering a total area of 7,700 m² were put into operation on the roofs of Hangar 7 and the former winter service hall in the year 2016. One year later, the airport’s solar energy systems were expanded to include a new one on the roofed Air Cargo Center, encompassing 8,000 m² of solar panels. Finally, the fourth photovoltaic unit located on the roof of the former wastewater treatment plant came on stream in August 2019. The three new photovoltaic plants mean that a total of seven such facilities will be operating on the grounds of Vienna Airport by the end of 2020, featuring annual electricity production of more than three million kilowatt hours. Direct current generated by all the photovoltaic systems will be converted into alternating current by power inverters and fed into the Vienna Airport power grid via transformer stations.
Sustainability and energy efficiency are top priorities
The expansion of photovoltaic facilities is only one of many measures being implemented within the context of Vienna Airport’s environmental management. The current fleet of 380 electric powered vehicles is being expanded on an ongoing basis. The airport is soon to acquire some 40 e-powered passenger buses. Another focus of the environmental activities is the sustainable design and construction of future buildings on the airport site such as Office Park 4 as well as energy optimisation of existing buildings by means of self-developed smart city control software. Last but not least, business trips on the part of airport employees are compensated by the purchase of CO2 certificates.