UN Environment head Erik Solheim will visit Cochin International Airport, which is the world's first completely solar-powered airport, tomorrow, the agency said in a release here.
More than 10 million people travel through the airport each year, and it has made considerable monetary savings through its solar power plants (present installation capacity 30 MWp).
The power plant is accompanied by a solar farm, with vegetables grown below and between solar panels.
Ahead of his first visit to the state, Solheim, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, said, "Kerala has long been a leader in human development and I am excited to be visiting the state and learning more about environmental innovation."
Many countries in the world have much to learn from the state's experiences with the first fully-solar powered airport in the world, a clear example that being environment-friendly is now a conscious business decision for many, a UNEP release quoting Solheim said.
During his a day-long visit tomorrow, Solheim will also use the opportunity to learn more about other green initiatives in the southern state.
He will interact with school students participating in the Student's Empowerment for Environmental Development (SEED)programme.
The programme reaches out to over 3 million students to create awareness on environmental degradation and create a "green" culture in the state.
Airport managing Director V J Kurian said this high profile visit will give a fillip to CIAL's green initiatives.
"CIAL has become the first airport in the world; fully powered by solar energy in 2015. The company has already signed an MoUwith Ghana for setting up solar power plants in three airports," he said.
Kurian said countries like Liberia and Burkina Faso have expressed their interests for bringing in CIAL's consultancy for similar projects and the discussions are going on.
"We are delighted and looking forward for Erik's visit," Kurian said.
At present CIAL is produces 0.125 million units of power a day from its eight power plants with a total installation capacity of 30 MWp.
This will be scaled up to 40 MWp by July 2018.
Solheim will also call on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and discuss areas of collaboration with UN Environment.