A new study has found Australia’s government-owned Airports produce electricity to power 136,000 homes if they install large-scale rooftop solar systems. Researchers at RMIT University compared electricity generated by residential solar panels in a regional city to the potential green energy production of 21 leased federal Airports. The study was published in The Journal of Building Engineering,
They found large-scale solar panels installed at the Airports would generate 10 times more electricity than the city’s 17,000 residential panels while offsetting 151.6 kilotons of greenhouse gasses. Researcher Dr Chayn Sun said the analysis showed the value of focusing renewable energy efforts on large centralized rooftop solar systems. She said that they can’t depend on small residential solar panels to get us to a zero-emission economy but installing large panels at locations like airports would get us a lot closer.
We hope our results will help guide energy policy while informing future research in solar deployment for large buildings. There is potential to facilitate national economic development while contributing towards greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
Lead author Athenee Teofilo, a Master of Geospatial Science student, then mapped the buildings in every leased federal airport excluding unsuitable structures like a dome and blister-type hangars and identified 2.61km2 of usable rooftop space. Researchers determined the optimum tilt angle for the solar arrays for each airport, to maximize efficiency. Melbourne Airports would outperform Bendigo’s annual solar electricity production by almost 12-gigawatt hours a year