Solar Power Solutions for Petrol Pumps
Solar Idea Tspl is constantly evaluating solar applications in order to reach a wider customer base and varied business uses. It has come up with a complete customized solar power solution for petrol pumps that shall help the owners and customers in combating the hazards of intermittent power supply in this business. The customization of the solar system varies from pump to pump depending upon the energy requirement of the petrol pump and availability of grid power in the area.
This complete customized solar power solution for petrol pumps is an example of how we can utilize the power of innovative renewable technology such as solar in providing uninterrupted power to customers & businesses in various applications.
A brief overview
- India has over 50,000 petrol pump stations catering to the fuel demand of the country. Almost 18,000 of these belong to Indian Oil (IOCL) and 6,000 each to Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) & Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL). Shell India & ONGC have also opened petrol stations in India with Shell having a total 84 petrol stations whereas Essar has 1300 petrol stations in the country. IOCL has more number of petrol stations in India than that present in the whole of Canada or UK!
- A petrol pump requires more than 5KW of electricity every day for its day to day fuel dispensing operations. This amounts to a total capacity of over 1,440 KW of power required for a year for one petrol pump.
- Most of the petrol pumps in India derive power from Diesel Generator sets. The operation cost for running the pumps on diesel generator sets is very high. To give one an approximate figure, there is a loss of Rs 1000-1500 per day as operation cost for running the pump on diesel generator sets. This amounts to a total loss of up to Rs 3,65,000 to 5,47,500 every year by a single petrol pump in India!
- Punjab has approx 700 number of petrol stations and Haryana has over 500 petrol stations alone. If one calculates the loss incurred by the petrol pumps as a result of high operation costs by using diesel generator sets, the amount would run into millions of rupees for Punjab and Haryana alone!
- In recent years, state oil marketing companies have started rural petrol stations which are established in the interior areas of villages and are meant to help the agriculturists and constructed with minimum investments. These stations sell pesticides, seeds, lanterns etc. which are the specific requirements of the farmers besides Petrol and Diesel.
Most petrol pumps require to be run on a 24x7 basis thereby requiring an intelligent power management system. Alternate power sources like diesel generators have a higher switchover time and the dispenser pump shuts down almost instantly. Power fluctuations also end-up damaging dispensing units at petrol pumps. Sudden power failure leads to loss of fuel, time and money of both the customer and the petrol pump owner.
Petrol pumps in Tier 2 & 3 cities face major energy crises because of irregular power supply. In far worse situations are the petrol pumps in remote locations which have no electricity, face erratic power supply or have grid supply for a minimal time period. Diesel Generator sets are used as an alternative to electricity from the grid in these areas. However, this proves to be very expensive as the fuel and maintenance cost of diesel generator sets is very high.
A vast untapped opportunity for solar
- Huge reduction in hefty electricity bills – Adoption of solar system for energy usage shall help the petrol pump in reducing hefty electricity bills. The petrol pump shall also save money during peak hours when the electricity is charged at a higher rate
- Quick and higher ROI - The solar package provides greater Returns on Investment (ROI) to the petrol pump owner. It reduces his dependency on the Diesel Generator Set, thus increasing profits by reducing operational and fuel costs
- Govt. subsidy on solar installation – The Indian government gives 30% subsidy on solar installation so the initial cost of the solar solution goes down marginally
- Tax benefits - Investment in solar helps in saving tax as one can enjoy the benefits of accelerated depreciation
- Easy option of Grid tie solar systems that eliminate the use of batteries – Since most petrol pumps offer only day time operations, grid tie solar systems become easy options for these pumps. The grid tie systems offer 98% efficiency in deriving solar power and eliminate the use of batteries completely thereby saving space and costs
- Eco friendly - Unlike conventional energy fuel, solar power package solution doesn’t emit any gases or leave any residues, thereby contributing to a greener environment and reducing one’s carbon footprint
- No extra space required for the system - A solar system’s panels require open space at the pump to be installed. Only the PCU/inverter and batteries (in case of off grid systems) require storage space.