Glasgow Airport has announced plans for what will be the largest solar farm at a Scottish airport as part of its ongoing commitment to decarbonizing its infrastructure and achieving net zero by the mid-2030s. The airport group is working with the Ikigai Group to decarbonize their operations in a wider consultancy agreement that entails the co-development of energy solutions with AGS (the owner of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airport).
The 30-acre onsite, ground-mounted solar farm will give Glasgow Airport the capability to generate enough power for the airport campus and neighboring businesses. This is equivalent to powering almost 20% of homes in the city of Glasgow (approximately 52,000 households).
The c.15MW solar farm is already in the early stages of development and is expected to be operational by summer 2023 subject to planning approval. The plant is the latest in a number of initiatives the airport and its parent group, AGS Airports, are undertaking, together with Ikigai Capital to support its journey to net zero.
Ikigai Capital is in the final phase of a procurement process for AGS, for Internet of Things (IoT) services to reduce its overall energy consumption by using digital technology, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
All three AGS airports achieved carbon neutrality status in 2020 and as part of its sustainability strategy which it launched in June 2021, AGS set out a roadmap for its transition to net zero by the mid-2030s.
Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, said: “All of our electricity is already purchased from 100% renewable sources and has been since 2018, however, the creation of the solar farm at Glasgow Airport will allow us to become self-sustaining by generating enough clean energy for both the airport and our neighbors.
“As one of the UK’s leading regional airport groups that serves the Highlands and Islands there’s a real opportunity for AGS to become a testbed for hydrogen and electric flight and the solar farm gives us the ability to future proof for an increase in electricity demand.
“There will be additional demand due to the electrification of operational vehicles, taxis, and rental cars and we will also launch a green car scheme to support our staff to switch to electric vehicles. All of this will require electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
“We need to anticipate these changes and the steps we are taking today will ensure we can meet both the demands of the future and our net zero targets.”
Roberto Castiglioni, co-founder of Ikigai commented: “AGS has always understood the importance of a holistic approach to the decarbonization challenge and the importance of starting with quick wins to generate traction with stakeholders. This solar project is just the beginning of a wider investment plan for Glasgow Airport that will encompass digitization, energy efficiency, and fuel decarbonization to supply not only the airport’s demand but also the local community”.
“We are glad to see our business model working in harmony with the asset owner where we can deliver the energy transition while being aligned with our clients. This first project represents Ikigai Energy, the development arm of the group, one of many projects across technologies we have in our pipeline”.
In 2021, AGS secured the top three positions in the UK with Southampton ranked as the best-performing UK airport. Aberdeen was ranked second with Glasgow third.
 In 2020, the number of households in Glasgow City was 295,761. National Records of Scotland Glasgow City Council Area Profile (nrscotland.gov.uk).