A very amazing event occurred this week. South Africa has opened the first entirely solar powered airport, George Airport, which serves over 600,000 passengers daily. It is the first for the continent. According to ConstructionReviewOnline, the majority of the airport’s power needs will be satisfied by 200 meters of solar panels. They will offer the 750 kw power for the airport’s daily needs.
Renewableenergyworld says that solar panels convert light into electricity. They are made from materials often used for computer chips. When these materials are exposed to sunlight, they knock the electrons out of the solar ray’s atoms and uses those for electricity. They are put into modules of about forty cells. The modules are then put together in an array. These materials have been engineered to be very thin. They are thin enough now to be put into roof shingles and many other materials. A few of these panels can be used to power an entire average household.
South Africa’s Climate Change Response Policy is meant to help South Africa transition to a green economy. This airport was a joint effort with government and private entities. The airport will run with all renewable resources.
This is not all South Africa is doing to help the environment. They have converted over 14,000 taxis to use compressed natural gas. Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa is urging public and private entities toward a greener operation.
SA News has reported that Transport Minister Dipuo Peters launched the project with the Airports Company of South Africa.They are starting to use the rails instead of the road for their freight.
It is not without its challenges. It costs more to run a solar powered airport than it does a conventionally powered system. But, this is a great event to combat climate change.