Rooftop Solar at Aussie Airports Could Power Cities


Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne have found that rooftop solar at airports could generate enough electricity to power cities! However, we’re not just talking ordinary, small-scale rooftop solar… we’re talking about large-scale solar power systems. If you’ve got solar panels on your roof at home, large-scale works the same… it’s just much, much bigger.

While it’s amazing that residential solar has had a huge uptake over the years, RMIT researcher Dr. Chayn Sun says that more could be done to help Australia achieve a zero-emission economy. This includes the installation of large-scale solar power systems at Australia’s 21 Federally-leased airports.

Where and What Are Federally-Leased Airports?

Australia currently has 21 Federally-leased airports. There’s at least one in each state, so check to see if your closest airport is on the list below!

A list of the Federally-leased airports in Australia.

If you’re wondering what a Federally-leased airport is, you’re not alone. We did some digging and found that they are airports leased to private companies by the Government. Although, they’re all governed by the airports branch at the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. Big name, right? The important thing to note here is that the airports branch of this Government department looks after:

  • Airport planning, development and land use;
  • Compliance with airport insurance;
  • Airport environment and building control regulation; and
  • Payment of Government rates and taxes.

The Study

The researchers at RMIT University compared the amount of solar generated in a regional city to the potential that could be generated by the 21 airports listed above. The regional city used for this study was Bendigo, Victoria; where there are 17,000 residential solar panels installed. The findings from this research showed that airports would generate 10 times more electricity than the systems in regional cities.

Dr. Sun said that airports aren’t being used as effectively as they could be for rooftop solar, and that most of them have insufficient rooftop solar systems.

“Airports get good sun exposure because they’re not shaded by tall buildings or trees, making them a perfect spot to harness the sun’s energy. Australia is facing an energy crisis, yet our solar energy resources – such as airport rooftops – are being wasted.”

Dr. Chayn Sun | Senior Lecturer at the School of Geospatial Science | Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

The lead author of the study, Athenee Teofilo, mapped out each Federally-leased airport building and managed to identify 2.61km2 of usable rooftop space. Just for some context, this is larger than the country of Monaco in Europe’s south. Granted Monaco is only 2.02km2 in size; but to have more usable rooftop space than the size of a country is pretty cool… if we make use of it.

The researchers found the best angle to position solar panels at each airport and found that Perth Airport had the most potential in terms of what it could generate; which would almost double the output of Bendigo.

Why Are Airports Perfect for Large-Scale Solar?

Have you ever been to an airport? Or even driven past one lately? If so, you’ll know that they can be absolutely massive… so just imagine your nearest airport decked out with a rooftop solar system. Partner that with the fact that there are no big trees or buildings around (because aeroplanes would struggle to land), you’ve got yourself the ideal location for a large-scale solar power system!

Additionally, airports usually have flat roofs; so, with no trees to shade the sun and with the correct tilting and positioning, it’s no surprise that panels on airport roofs could generate a huge amount of power.

This is all exciting news, especially if something comes of it. Let’s hope our airports will soon be installing large-scale solar power systems and doing their part to helping our country edge closer to zero-emissions! You can read more about the study here.


Take our Solar Quiz Compare Energy Providers and Save

Download Your FREE Ultimate Guide to Solar Power in Australia - 2021 Edition

Beginners Guide to Solar Power

If you’re considering solar for your property or just looking to maximise the savings for your solar system, download a FREE copy of our "Ultimate Guide to Solar Power in Australia - 2021 Edition".

Become an expert and better understand the ins and outs of solar power and solar PV systems for your property.

Includes detailed explanations and diagrams of the various types of solar systems and their parts, solar battery storage systems, Government incentives, expected ROI periods, finance, energy-saving tips and more!

Download Your Free Copy Now!

Latest blog & information


Please provide your email address so that we can send your free copy of "The Ultimate Guide to Solar Power in Australia - 2021 Edition".

* By clicking "Send me a copy" I agree to the terms in TQC’s privacy policy.

Thank you

A link to download your copy of "The Ultimate Guide to Solar Power in Australia - 2021 Edition" has been emailed to the address you provided.

If this message does not appear in your inbox, ensure that you have provided the correct email address or check your junk/spam folder.

This message will close in 10 seconds or

Close and back to page

Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

[gravityform id="4"]
<p class="gform_not_found">Oops! We could not locate your form.</p>