Fuel Retailer Strongly Goes Green With Easy Loans

NEW DELHI: Oil companies betting big on solar no longer sounds ironic. Set up solar energy plants is not a sign of commitment to the environment. Instead, it makes business sense, as the rising cost of running gasoline pumps eats away at distributors’ revenue.
It’s no wonder that state fuel retailers in India are persuading gasoline pump owners to go green by installing solar powered units. Experiments Indian oil, the nation’s largest fuel retailer, in 2015 showed that solar power intakes cost less than burning diesel in generators to keep pumps running, especially indoors.
Since then, IndianOil, which dominates nearly half of India’s fuel retail market, has been pushing its distributors to switch to green energy by arranging easy loans through a link with OSE and other assistance. Bharat Oil and Hindustan Petroleum have also joined the bandwagon, but they are slower.
“Solarization of gasoline pumps is part of Indian Oil’s green commitment. Our goal is to run 100% of our outlets with solar energy in the next two years. The focus will be on the rural areas where we have Kisan Seva Kendras (low-cost, stripped-down petrol pump versions), Indian Oil President Sanjiv Singh told TOI.
“A solar plant not only ensures continuous power but also ensures quality power and prevents equipment (at power outlets) from tripping due to power outages or (voltage) fluctuations. Contamination of generators is also verified, “Singh said.
All of this results in uninterrupted operation and no loss of sales. Depending on the size of the gasoline pump, a 24 kw (kilowatt) rooftop photovoltaic system can reduce costs by more than Rs 7 lakh per year. This is almost 50% less than the average annual electricity bill, based on commercial rates that are higher than household rates, for supplying the network. There are other benefits too, like accelerated depreciation.
India has 62,585 gasoline pumps, of which only 6,000 are operated by private retailers such as Shell, Dependency Industries Ltd and Nayara Energy. Among state retailers, Indian Oil has 27,377 pumps. Some 12,227, or 44.6% of them, run on solar energy. Hindustan Petroleum has 15,287, of which only 225 are powered by solar energy. Bharat Petroleum operates 14,500 pumps, 1,267 of them with green energy.
The grid power supply in rural areas and the interior remains irregular and also suffers from low, high or fluctuating voltage. Gasoline pump owners in these areas rely on generators, which increases operating costs and reduces dealer margin.
The grid power supply in rural areas and the interior remains irregular and also suffers from low, high or fluctuating voltage. Gasoline pump owners in these areas rely on generators, which increases their cost of operation and consumes their margin.
In this context, investing in a rooftop solar system is starting to make more and more sense, as it provides a reliable source of energy, reduces the electricity bill, and reduces pollution from diesel generators.

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