Solar panels are becoming increasingly attractive as a means of supporting the energy requirements of airports. They allow airports to reduce their operating costs and reinforce their commitment to the environment.
Nevertheless, the installation of solar panels may be limited by aerodrome safeguarding constraints and, as required by ICAO, further require an Aeronautical Study to ensure that safety of operations will not be compromised.
In this context, airsight was commissioned by Malta International Airport to conduct an Aeronautical Study in order to determine the possible locations for the installation of a large-scale solar farm within the perimeter of the aerodrome using a safety-based approach.
The developed Aeronautical Study consisted of a review of the applicable regulations and guidance material available and the identification of potential hazards, e.g. sun reflections and glare on ATCOs and pilots, potentially impaired rescue and firefighting operations, interferences with navigation (e.g. ILS) and surveillance equipment (radars). Based on the identified hazards and associated risks levels, mitigating measures were identified and possible locations for the installation determined.
Airports present a significant opportunity for hosting solar technologies due to large amounts of open land, however the successful implementation of solar systems depends on detailed planning and safety analysis as performed in this project.