You might think the last thing that BP Amoco, one of the biggest oil companies on the planet, would be supportive of would be solar power. But BP has now also become one of the world's leading solar electric companies by acquiring Solarex and taking the lead in the promotion of solar energy.
BP Solarex is a unit of BP Amoco and headquartered in Frederick, Md. With a global market share of 20 percent and annual revenues of more than $160 million, BP Solarex is at the forefront of the international solar electric industry and is the largest manufacturer of solar electric modules and systems.
With a global market share of 20 percent and annual revenues of more than $160 million, BP Solarex is at the forefront of the international solar electric industry. With manufacturing operations in four countries -- the United States, Spain, India and Australia -- BP Solarex produces approximately 30 megawatts of solar products each year.
BP is also putting its money where its mouth is by announcing that 200 of its service stations worldwide are to incorporate solar power - the largest single project of its kind ever undertaken.
Solar electricity will help meet the power needs of all new service stations to be built in the UK, Australia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Portugal and Spain. Solar installations will also be incorporated into prototype sites in France and the US as part of an extended pilot programme.
The first phase of the two-year programme will see up to 400 solar panels installed on each canopy at some 200 service stations across eleven countries in a $50 million, 3.5megawatt project, saving around 3,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. As a result of this project, BP Amoco will become one of the world's largest users of solar power. It is already one of the world's largest manufacturers of solar cells and modules.
The level of power generated will vary from site to site. But at each, the solar panels on the canopy above the pumps will generate more clean energy than is consumed by the site's lighting needs and the power requirements of the pumps below. The installations, which will be connected to the local electricity networks, will allow any excess electricity to be exported during the day and the shortfall imported at night.
The announcement follows a successful pilot programme at 19 sites in Europe, Australia, Malaysia and the US.
"Our own use of solar power is an example of BP Amoco's commitment to tackling the issue of climate change," says BP Amoco chief executive Sir John Browne. "Not only will BP Amoco be one of the largest producers of solar photovoltaic cells in the world, but it will also be one of the largest single users of solar power.
"By installing solar panels at such a large number of sites across the world we will also learn and add to expertise in handling issues of grid connection, contribute to the standardisation of equipment and drive down costs for all of our solar customers."
BP Amoco managing director Chris Gibson Smith and Patrick Lambert, head of the renewable sources of energy unit at the European Union celebrated the launch of the project by switching on the solar installation at the company's latest 'solar station' at Perivale, West London. "This shows how simple it is to use solar power", said Chris Gibson Smith. "It's quiet, reliable and ideal for generating clean electricity for our homes, factories and offices. It's also especially suited to urban environments."
"We enthusiastically welcome this project which is very much in line with and supports the EU's strategy to increase significantly the role of renewable energy sources," said Patrick Lambert. "It will make an important and timely contribution to the Campaign for Take-off designed to accelerate the take up of key renewable energy technologies in the early years of our strategy."
A 40kW solar system will also be installed at three new office buildings as part of the redevelopment of BP's site at Sunbury, UK. BP is also sponsoring rural solar electricity projects in Africa and South America.
The solar installation at each site will have a maximum power output of 20kWp - more than eight times the size of a domestic system supplying the electricity needs of an energy-efficient home. The amount of electricity generated will vary from site to site, but on average each solar installation will provide the equivalent of enough power to run 55 television sets for five hours a day, every day of the year.
BP Amoco is the world's leading solar energy company. It recently announced that it had invested a further $45 million in solar power with the purchase of the 50 per cent share of Solarex which it did not already own. The new company, BP Solarex, will build on the current business activities of Solarex and BP Solar. It has manufacturing sites in four countries and a combined turnover of more than $150 million. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed by the end of April.
BP Amoco is one of the world's leading marketers of petroleum products. There are 17,900 BP-branded retail sites throughout the world, of which 6,500 are owned by the company. In the US there is a network of 9,300 of Amoco-branded retail stations. The target countries have been chosen for a number of reasons, including the ease of connecting to the national electricity transmission systems, industry infrastructure and light levels.
BP Amoco is committed to addressing the issues of global climate change. It has recently announced a pilot emissions trading programme and has set a target to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent below 1990 baseline levels by 2010. In February it announced the provision of ultra-low sulphur diesel at service stations throughout the UK and a 'clean cities' programme to supply a range of cleaner fuels to 40 cities throughout the world.
Solar energy is clean, quiet, reliable and the most appropriate renewable energy for urban environments. Each kilowatt of solar power installed saves the equivalent of one tonne of CO2 emissions a year.
Solar Energy Helps Power Amoco Service Station; Solar Education Program Announced
28th October 1999
(OLNEY, Md.) Oct. 28 – Starting today, Bobby Fletcher's Amoco station here has something extra going for it in addition to quality products and customer-pleasing service. The station now is a working demonstration of how the sun can power today's businesses.
At a Grand Opening ceremony today, an array of solar modules atop the pump island canopy was officially connected to the station's regular power supply. The solar array will contribute directly to the station's bottom line by reducing Fletcher's monthly electric bill. The "thin film" solar modules at the station generate up to six kilowatts of electricity, enough to light the inside of the store and run some of the store equipment.
The solar modules, manufactured by BP Solarex, are part of a BP Amoco project aimed at demonstrating real-world applications of solar electricity and how businesses and residences alike can benefit from solar power.
At the event, it was announced BP Amoco will sponsor an education program in Maryland intended to improve students' understanding of solar energy. Working with the Maryland Energy Administration and BP Solarex, the company will help fund a permanent solar energy demonstration program at six elementary and middle schools. Each school will receive and have installed a solar array and a solar electric meter. And, in an effort to further promote solar energy education, a special solar energy classroom curriculum designed by BP Solarex will be made available to schools statewide.
"BP Amoco is committed to providing energy that helps reduce emissions while continuing to provide the fuels that ensure mobility for everyone," said Raymond Brasser, senior vice president of the BP Amoco Atlantic Business Unit. "The solar modules at this station are evidence of how business needs for clean energy can be met while helping to reduce operating costs."
Solar electricity is an important element of BP Amoco's three-part effort to reduce global emissions. The company has set a goal of a 10 percent reduction in emissions from its own operations by 2010 from a 1990 baseline. It has introduced a variety of cleaner fuels in cities around the world, including the American debut in July of low sulfur premium gasoline in Atlanta and a similar roll-out in Chicago, October 14. And, the company recently began installing solar electric arrays at service stations in Europe and Australia.
Fletcher's Amoco is the first service station in the world to supplement its regular electric supply with thin film solar modules. BP Amoco is considering possible solar electric installations at other service stations in the US.
In addition to the business and technical knowledge gained from the solar project at Fletcher's Amoco, a special promotion will be launched November 1 to allow customers to directly support a local solar energy education program. BP Amoco will donate the greater of either $2,000, or a penny for every gallon of gasoline pumped in November at Fletcher's Amoco, to fund a special solar energy education project at nearby Olney Elementary School.
"Although BP Amoco has operations around the world, it is our presence in communities like Olney where we must make a difference," Brasser said. "Our success will ultimately be measured by how well we connect with our customers. Projects like this that combine solar electric innovations at our stations, educational opportunities for our young people, and support from our customers are a step in the right direction."
BP Amoco is a global energy company with operations in 100 countries on six continents. Formed of the 1998 merger of British Petroleum and Amoco Corporation, BP Amoco is among the top three energy companies in the world. With offices in Towson, Md., and Parsippany, N.J., the Atlantic Business Unit is part of BP Amoco's U.S. Retail group and manages service stations in seven states and the District of Columbia.
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