Spanish national flag carrier Iberia is set to install solar panels on its engine maintenance hangar in Madrid. In a press release from the airline released on July 19, the IAG-owned airline said that the solar panels would generate 80 million kWh of electricity while at the same time eliminating 32,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions during its working life.
This new green energy initiative is the first major green energy efficiency project to go along with earlier efforts to combat air pollution both in the air and on the ground. Iberia’s pioneering project is all a part of the European Union (EU) Green Deal Initiative approved at the end of 2019.
The EU Green Deal is a roadmap
The EU Green Deal is a roadmap for the 28 nations that make up the block to make the EU economy sustainable. It will work by turning environmental and climate challenges into opportunities across all policy areas while making the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy just and inclusive for all members.
In its statement on the Green Deal the European Union said the following:
“Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, Europe needs a new growth strategy that transforms the Union into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy.”
Key points of the roadmap include:
- There are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
- Economic growth is decoupled from resource use
- No person and no place is left behind
The solar panels will pay for themselves
In line with the plan, Iberia plans to install solar panels on its 20,000 sqm (215,278 sqft) engine maintenance hanger at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD). Given that Madrid boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, Iberia is confident that the panels will not only power the hanger and related offices but pay for themselves in energy savings.
This latest step is just one of many Iberia plans to take to reach a goal of zero emissions by 2050, to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment. To help achieve these goals, Iberia plans to fly the most sustainable aircraft it can while substituting petrol and diesel ground vehicles with new electric-powered ones, and a host of other energy-saving measures.
The panels and all the equipment needed to produce electricity will be built in the final quarter of 2020. Once completed, it should be up and running sometime in 2021. When working, the facility will create enough electricity to power the equivalent of 800 homes. This eliminates more than 1,000 tons of CO2 per year during its 32-year life cycle.
Built together with specialist firm Getting Greener, the hanger will have 5,374 solar panels. These can each produce 335 watts of electricity at peak times. Guests at the facility will see a display that shows real-time energy output and is just one of many changes Iberia plans to make to help combat CO2 emissions.
Spain leads Europe in renewable energy
It is no surprise that a Spanish airline would be one of the first to come up with the idea of powering its ground facilities with solar energy. Spain already leads Europe producing much of its electricity needs with the aid of solar and wind power.
Bloomberg’s report carried by EuroWeekly suggests that by 2030 68% of all Spain’s energy needs will come from renewable sources. Spain is fortunate to be able to do this, and we commend Iberia for its efforts in combating CO2 emissions.
Do you think that some other airlines can follow Iberia’s initiative? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.