Total, a leading French-based multinational oil and gas company unveiled their $300 million investment in installation of about 200 MW of solar power capacity at 5,000 gas stations across the globe.
The investment will be one of the company’s biggest moves towards reducing its carbon footprint, and probably its first step towards converting its gas stations into future electric vehicle charging stations.
As the world car fleet moves away from being powered by diesel and gasoline but rather electricity, the current infrastructure generally set up for refueling is bound to change. In fact, most gas stations have already become stores of convenience, even though they still rely on the traffic from drivers coming to refuel their tanks.
Of course, we will require few charging stations compared to gas stations when electric vehicles eventually become more popular since much of the charging will happen at home. However, a substantial number of stations will be necessary in ensuring long distance travelers and EV owners in homes without access to charging such as apartment dwellers, get a charge.
If you must provide charging, you might also need to generate solar powered electricity on location, making the investment economically viable. Notably, this technology is far from being available everywhere, but it’s quickly gaining popularity in various markets around the world.
At the time of this announcement, Total did not specify where it would deploy its new solar installations besides the “5,000 of its service stations worldwide” which include “800 in France”; all scheduled for deployment over the next 5 years.
Sunpower, a solar company owned by Total will supply the panels.
Mr. Philippe Sauquet, the President of Gas, Renewables & Power at Total, remarked that:
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“The project is fully aligned with Total’s ambition of becoming the responsible energy major and its commitment to developing solar power. It will reduce our carbon emissions by 100,000 tons per year and cut our electricity bill by $40 million per year. The panels will be supplied by our affiliate SunPower, which offers the world’s most efficient solar technology. This project demonstrates Total’s confidence in SunPower, especially its ability to bring our customers competitive, clean energy.”
As more and more charging stations and solar panels continue to be installed (separately, at least for now) at various gas stations around the globe, this already gives us a glimpse of how the future transport infrastructure will look like. Sooner rather than later, we will see stations with bigger rooftop solar arrays with capacity for storing energy in battery packs and conveniently charging electric vehicles.
If you are looking to install a solar panel at your home, business (or even gas station), you can find out whether going solar makes sense for your property and how you can save more money on your electricity bill with a free solar quote here.