Why petrol pumps in india are opting for solar power
India has more than 50,000 petrol pumps that fuel the progress of our country. In the beginning of 2015, Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), one of the biggest oil marketing companies that owns 24000 petrol pumps in India, announced increasing the number of solar powered petrol pumps from 2000 to 10,000 over a period of 2-3 years. With this decision, IOCL has set a trend that would soon be followed by other major players in the field. If you are wondering why the company decided to turn more than 40% of its units into solar powered stations you should check out the following factsheet:
- Petrol pumps need substantial amount of electricity daily.
- On average, a petrol pump needs 5KW of power for completing their daily operational activities, which comes to over 1,840 KW of power / year.
- Petrol pumps are operational 24x7 around the year
- Petrol pumps are commercial units hence charged steep electricity rates.
- Most petrol pumps suffer major loss due to irregular power supply which results in loss of fuel, time and money.
- Expensive DG sets have to be maintained for power back up. Running cost of these DG sets has gone up sharply to increase in price of conventional fuel.
Solar Power offers a very economic and cost effective solution for meeting the daily power needs of any petrol pump. Cost estimates for a 24 KW solar power system come around Rs.17 Lakhs and lead to annual savings of Rs.7 Lakhs for the petrol pump. At this rate the solar power system would pay off its cost in around 3-4 years and keep on providing free electricity for another 20 years. Some of the key benefits for petrol pumps that follow after installing solar panels are:
- Reduced electricity bills as dependency on conventional electricity is reduced
- Reduced bills on running back up DG sets
- Government gives up to 30% subsidy for solar panels installations
- Tax benefits by going for accelerated depreciation
- Easy availability of loans at low interest rates for solar panel installation
- Low maintenance and long lifespan
- Environment friendly solar power is the best way to preserve our planet
- Proper utilization of space by installing solar panels atop the canopy of the petrol pump
A comparative study of diesel operated generators and solar powered system further illustrates the major savings and advantage offered by the latter. Over a period of 10 years a 10 Kw/ kva diesel powered generator would cost almost Rs. 43,80,000( inclusive of purchase cost, fuel cost and maintenance). A relatively maintenance free solar installation for same period would incur no major costs apart from the initial setup cost of Rs. 8,00,000 to Rs. 8,50,000. Hence in only 10 years a petrol pump can save Rs.35,80,00 by opting for solar power.
Petrol pumps can use any of the 3 types of solar grids used for solar set up namely; On Grid
, Off Grid
, and Hybrid
. However, out of the 3 On grid setup
is best suited for petrol pumps as it offers maximum advantages.
Depending on the location and size petrol pumps can go for : Ground mounted solar installation
: Rural area petrol pumps that have small roof space or don’t have a canopy.Rooftop solar systems
:Tier 2 and tier 3 cities as well as villages have pumps that have enough roof space which can be utilised for solar installations.Solar panels on canopy
: Fully utilizes the canopy space of bigger petrol pumps located in metros.
Petrol pumps can begin with a smaller 10KWp solar power system and after experiencing the benefits can later upscale their solar installation to 20-24KWp system.