Germany’s Cologne/ Bonn Airport is to install 8,600 new solar modules across its campus, adding to seven existing photovoltaic (PV) systems.

The next few months will see roof-mounted PV systems, with a total installed output of around 2.6 megawatts-peak (MWp), fitted on four cargo halls and administration buildings at Cologne/ Bonn Airport. This is enough to supply nearly 600 homes with electricity for a year. The airport is investing €2.5m in the project.

“Expanding our renewable-energy facilities is an important step towards carbon-neutrality,” said Thilo Schmid, CEO of Flughafen Köln/Bonn. “It takes us that much closer to our goal of being carbon-neutral by 2045.”

PV systems have been an important part of the airport’s sustainability activities for several years. Its first two systems commenced operation in 2009. There are currently seven such systems, with some 13,000 modules in total, producing around 2,800MWh of solar power per year.

In close co-operation with cargo service provider UPS, another system is being installed at UPS’ facility, and is set to have an output of around 1,500 kilowatts peak (kWp). PV systems will also be installed on the roofs of the facility run by cargo service provider FedEx (700kWp) and two other buildings where the airline Eurowings is headquartered (400kWp). Collectively, the four systems will have around 8,600 modules.

Over the next few years, the airport plans to invest several million euros in energy infrastructure to reduce consumption and decouple itself from fossil energy sources. In doing so, its focus is not only on expanding its photovoltaics systems, but also on zero-emission generation of heat and cold using ice-storage technology in combination with PV systems and heat pumps. Cologne/ Bonn will also invest in a substation and woodchip-fired power plant. The airport’s own co-generation plant was also upgraded in 2022.

Image: Cologne/Bonn Airport