One of India’s largest oil marketing companies is set to increase the number of solar-powered petrol pumps from 2,000 to 10,000.
Indian Oil Corporation operates 24,000 petrol pumps across India. 2,000 of these are equipped with rooftop solar power systems. The company now plans to increase this number to 10,000 over the next 2–3 years.
The main reason behind the massive revamp of power supply is the demand and supply gap that exists in the Indian power grid. The company wants to free up electricity for rural areas, a high-ranking official claimed. One retail outlet switching to solar power would free up enough electricity to power 60 households in rural areas.
The economics of the entire project, however, is also huge incentives. Petrol pumps are commercial entities and attract some of the highest electricity tariffs among all consumer segments.
Putting up a 24 kW solar power system would cost around ₹17 lakhs (~$26,000) and lead to savings of ₹7 lakhs (~$10,700) per year, the company claims. At this rate, the solar power system should fully pay for itself in less than three years, which is less than most utility-scale solar power projects in India.
The company is also planning to set up similar projects at other facilities, including terminals and storage depots. It may also consider selling surplus electricity to the grid under a feed-in tariff regime.
Public-sector companies have been asked to significantly boost their investment in and uptake of renewable energy. While some are planning large solar parks, companies with financial constraints, like IOC, are considering other nifty ways to generate low-cost clean electricity.
Image Credit: Bernard Gagnon | CC-BY-SA 3.0