September 2021 – Energy Scouts plan photovoltaic plant at Bulgaria’s Varna Airport

The German-Bulgarian company Fraport Twin Star Airport Management AD (Fraport) is responsible for the operation, management and development of Burgas (BOJ) and Varna (VAR) airports. Varna Airport is located approximately eight kilometres from Bulgaria’s third largest city, Varna, and covers a total area of 22.31 km2. Despite its location close to the Black Sea, the airport is on average 70 metres above sea level. Around 1.7 million passengers are handled annually at the two terminals.

Martin Markov and Lybomir Stavrev, Fraport’s Energy Scouts, analysed the current electricity consumption of a maintenance hall with a total area of 1,696 m2 and a total of six workshops, six offices, a meeting room and two bathrooms in search of their practical project. Consumption is measured via three electricity meters. Around 141,041 kWh are consumed annually with a peak load of 68 kWh. The evaluations showed differences in electricity consumption over time, especially in the summer season. The reason for this is the increased charging of the electric trucks needed to handle the many aircraft in the summer season.

Concept development of a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system.
Using the software PVsyst, a special programme for photovoltaic systems, the Energy Scouts created a simulation of the amount of electricity that would be produced in the future by specifying various parameters, such as the selection of the solar panels, the orientation of the panels (angle 30°, orientation south). A system of 204 monocrystalline silicon modules, each with an output of 400 kWp, and three inverters, each with 30 kWac, are expected to generate 106,100 kWh of electricity per year.

The building, which was erected on the airport grounds in 2012, thus offers optimal conditions for the construction of a PV system with an installed capacity of around 81.6 kW on an area of 457 m². In the best possible case, 75% of the electricity required in and around the building would be covered by the PV system. The Energy Scouts’ idea of whether the batteries of the electric trucks can also be used as electricity storage units is also being tested. Theoretically, they could absorb the then abundant “solar power” from the PV system during the day in order to supply the electricity to the building for lighting purposes in the dark half of the day by means of an inverter. This would further reduce the building’s conventional electricity consumption.

Amortisation after 6.4 years with significant reduction of CO2 emissions
With investment costs of € 144,240.46 and an electricity price of € 0.10/kWh and a minimum lifetime of 20 years, the payback period is 6.4 years.

The construction of the photovoltaic system in the maintenance building can thus avoid emissions of up to 90.72 t CO2 per year. The Energy Scouts received the award in the category “Green Future” for their project at the 2020 award ceremony in Bulgaria.

Energy / Electricity


  • Industry sector: service industry
  • Energy source: electrical energy and solgar energy
  • CO2 saving potential: 90.72t CO2/a
  • Investment cost: 144,240.46 EUR
  • Payback period: 6.4 years
The Black Sea city of Varna and it’s airport in the northwest. (©Google Earth)
Energy Scouts at Varna Airport. (©Fraport)
The results of the simulation of a PV plant (©PVsyst)
The hall is used for the maintenance of the airport's vehicle fleet. (©Fraport)
Lybomir Stavrev (3rd from right) and Martin Markov (1st from right) with the award in the "Green Future" category (©Fraport)