Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), the operator and manager of Malaysia's 39 airports, and SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE), a leading solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar energy services, today announced the launch of Malaysia's first airport solar power system at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The 19 MW (megawatt) DC (direct current) installation — the largest in Malaysia as of interconnection — combines ground-mount, parking canopy and roof-top systems to maximize electricity savings and return on investment while minimizing the use of space.
The solar power installation is expected to save the airport approximately 2.1 million RM (~US$627,000) annually based on current energy costs. Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad, Malaysia Airports' Managing Director, said, "Malaysia has an ideal climate for solar power and therefore we are taking steps to generate clean energy which will be beneficial to everyone in Malaysia. We are working with SunEdison to ensure our efforts produce the results we expect."
SunEdison faced a significant challenge — generating the maximum return on investment for Malaysia Airports while working with the limited space available in the airport. The solution was to install ground-mount, parking canopy and roof-top systems on airport land that was not suitable for other revenue-generating activity. Parking canopies combine the benefits of covered parking with the economic benefit of generating electricity at an economical and predictable price. Utilizing airport roof-top space and the land surrounding the airport allows electricity to be generated at the point of consumption, removing the need for costly transmission lines.
"Rooftops, parking lots and 'buffer' areas at airports are traditionally not multi-purpose facilities, but we've turned them into a clean energy generation facility," said Tan Sri Bashir. "This initiative also demonstrates our support towards the Government's initiative in introducing renewable energy and also to further reduce carbon footprint."
"This project reflects SunEdison's ability to drive growth through unique development opportunities. In working with Malaysia Airports we were able to help them make money from an under-utilized asset they already had — these spaces can now be harnessed to generate clean energy," said Pashupathy Gopalan, SunEdison President for Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, and Australia. "The energy savings, combined with the positive environmental contributions from a solar installation of this size, make this a great step forward for the airport industry and a huge benefit for the local community."
The SunEdison Renewable Operation Center (ROC) will provide 24/7 solar system management and monitoring services to ensure the installation continues to perform as expected over the system's lifetime. "The completion of this project is very exciting for everyone involved," said Gopalan. "Projects like this reflect our focus on growing the industry and SunEdison, and with the excellent feed-in tariff program in Malaysia we look forward to helping additional airports in Malaysia — and around the world — use solar to save money."