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Athens International Airport (AIA) has officially launched its Photovoltaic Park, believed to be the largest unified PV airport installation in the world. The 8MWp facility, developed on a 524,934 sq ft (160,000m2) area within the airport site, was inaugurated on September 28 by Greece’s Minister of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Mr George Papaconstantinou, while addresses were made by AIA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, Professor Stratos Papadimitriou, and AIA’s CEO, Dr Yiannis Paraschis.
The airport says its inauguration of the PV Park marks the outcome of its long-term efforts to introduce renewable energy sources. An investment rising to approximately €20 million (US$27m) allowed the project to be completed in a period of six months. AIA says it PV Park is expected to contribute significantly to the airport company’s target of reducing its installation’s carbon footprint. Additionally, AIA says that the Photovoltaic Park is projected to produce 11 million kWh annually, or almost 20% of the company’s electricity needs (9% of airport community needs), and will reduce CO2 emissions by at least 10,000 tonnes / year, for a period of at least 25 years. To indicate the scale of the reduction, AIA states that it would take 1,500,000 trees in order to absorb the same amount of CO2 on an annual basis.
The Chairman of Athens International Airport, Professor Stratos Papadimitriou, stated: “The construction and operation of the airport’s PV Park demonstrates once more AIA’s commitment to be a model company in the modern business environment, where efficient corporate governance demands responding to new challenges, through business solutions based on creativity and innovation. In this framework, Athens International Airport invests dynamically in renewable energy sources, implements its own corporate system of environmental management, and joins European industry initiatives aiming to reduce CO2 emissions from its installations.”
AIA’s CEO, Dr Yiannis Paraschis, stressed: “Ten years since the beginning of operations of our airport, it gives us great pleasure to see the opening of our PV park, marking our continuous and dynamic investment in environmental management and development, with a focus on renewable energy sources. Having started in 2003, we have to date achieved a significant reduction in the company’s electrical consumption by more than 25%. For the future, within the framework of our actions against climate change, we are exploring the possibility of using other alternative or renewable energy sources such as geothermal energy and cogeneration, targeting a further reduction of the airport’s carbon footprint, based on the principles of energy effectiveness”.