Nairobi — Kenya has become the first country in Africa to install a solar system at an airport to reduce aviation carbon emissions by planes during take-off.
The ground-mounted 500kW solar power generation facility which has been launched at Moi International Airport - will help reduce at least 1,300 tonnes of carbon emissions through providing pre-conditioned air and compatible electricity that runs on solar energy to aircraft during ground operations.
The solar project will also have savings on electricity hence efficient operations at the Airport.
Director General of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Captain Gilbert Kibe says the initiative enabled the development of Kenya's State's Action Plan for Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Aviation.
"This project will make a big difference on how we consume energy in our airport. Our target is to among others to operate on zero-carbon emissions by 2020," Kibe said.
Currently, planes use their auxiliary power unit powered by jet fuel or airport ground power units fuelled by diesel to run on-board systems and cooling before departing for the next flight.
"It is not only a transformative development in Kenya's aviation sector - and of the continent - but also an inspiring model of how such change can best be accomplished", said. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
This pilot project was implemented by ICAO and funded by the European Union (EU) as part of a €6.5 million initiative, entitled "Capacity Building for CO2 Mitigation from International Aviation."