A new ground-mounted 1.2MW solar installation at Cameroon’s Douala International Airport was has been put into operation to help reduce the CO2 emissions produced by aircraft during ground operations.

Aircraft currently use jet fuel based auxiliary power units (APUs) or diesel-driven ground power units (GPUs) to provide pre-conditioned air and electricity to aircraft during ground operations.

Through its new solar installation the Douala airport will now be eliminating at least 2,575 tonnes of CO₂ from over 5,100 flights annually, based on the more than 5.5 million kWh per year it is projected to generate. As a demonstration of its engagement to the project, the Government of Cameroon funded the purchase of airport gate electric equipment to be connected by the newly installed solar park.”

“With this solar facility at Douala International Airport, Cameroon advances the modernization of its energy sector by using renewable energy to reduce green-house gases emissions and protect the environment”, said Jean Ernest Massena Ngalle Bibehe, Minister of Transport of Cameroon. “The Government of Cameroon is determined to continuing the implementation of tangible actions for a more sustainable aviation.”

“Sustainable development and climate change continue to be critical issues for the international community, and this latest commitment by Cameroon is a great example of the concrete actions which can be implemented as part of a broader air transport environmental strategy,” commented Jane Hupe, ICAO Deputy Director Environment. “ICAO expects to see many other countries replicating these cost effective and emissions reducing solar-at-gate solutions.”

The new “Solar-at-Gate” pilot project is the third such initiative implemented by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and the second to be realized in Africa following on recent installations in Jamaica and Kenya.

The installations are part of a longer-term Capacity Building for CO2 Mitigation from International Aviation assistance programme which ICAO has been carrying out, with funding support from the European Union. It provides direct assistance to 12 African and two Caribbean region States.

“The construction of the solar photovoltaic system at Douala International Airport shows the results achieved by the ICAO-EU partnership on the Environment, in which the authorities of Cameroon have been actively participating,” noted Mr. Steven Rault, Chief of Programmes of the EU Delegation in Cameroon. “By funding such initiatives, the EU wants to contribute to the sustainable development of the international aviation.”

The Douala solar-at-gate inauguration ceremony on was attended by the Minister of Transport of Cameroon, senior officials from the Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority, airport authorities, and relevant stakeholders, and representatives of the European Union and other international organizations.