Australia’s government-owned airports could produce enough electricity to power 136,000 homes if they had large-scale rooftop solar systems installed, a new study suggests.
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.
They found that if large-scale solar panels were installed at the airports, they would generate 10 times more electricity than the city’s 17,000 residential panels while offsetting 151.6 kilotons of greenhouse gasses annually.
Researcher Dr Chayn Sun said the analysis showed the value of focusing renewable energy efforts on large centralised rooftop solar systems.
“We can’t rely 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,” she said.
Sun, a geospatial scientist in RMIT’s School of Science, said airports were ideal for solar panels but were not currently being used to their full potential.
“Airports get good sun exposure because they’re not shaded by tall buildings or trees, making them a perfect spot to harness the sun’s energy,” she said.
Previous studies have deemed airports as great solar generators but the RMIT research goes further by precisely modelling the use of large-scale systems.