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BP Unveils Service Station Of The New Millennium

New Zealand’s first solar powered service station was opened today by the Hon Max Bradford, Minister for Energy, as part of a global programme that will see 200 BP service stations world-wide using solar energy.

The new service station, which receives up to a third of its power from solar energy in optimal conditions, is located on Auckland’s southern motorway midway between Papakura and Drury.

It is part of a larger facility - the BP Papakura Motorway Service Area (MSA) - which provides motorists leaving Auckland with a range of services including a cafe, rest rooms and an information kiosk.

BP New Zealand’s Managing Director, Greg Larsen, said the Papakura service station will be the pilot for the use of solar technology at other BP service stations.

“BP Amoco, of which BP New Zealand is a subsidiary, is the world leader of solar technology, and we are excited to launch this country’s first service station to make use of this clean, green, renewable resource.”

“Our Papakura site is the ideal location to show New Zealanders that solar power is safe, simple and a viable energy of the new millennium,” Mr Larsen said.

“With millions of vehicles passing each year, there can be few other sites, if any, as well placed to become New Zealand’s prime reminder of the benefits of solar energy.”

The solar energy will be used to power the pumps and lights at the service station. Power is harnessed through 216 solar panels installed on the forecourt canopy, above the pumps.

These panels, which produce up to 20,000 kilowatt hours each year, generate more clean energy than is consumed by the site’s lighting needs and the power requirements of the pumps. Excess electricity is exported to the national grid during the day and the shortfall imported at night.

Mr Larsen said BP Papakura reflects the commitment of BP Amoco to developing alternative energy technologies.

As part of a two-year programme called Plug in the Sun, solar power will be installed at 200 service stations in 10 countries, including New Zealand. The $100 million project will save around 3500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

“While solar is still a developing business, we believe it has great potential which is why BP has invested so heavily in the technology over the past two decades,” Mr Larsen said.

BP Amoco is targeting increased use of solar energy by businesses and homes in an attempt to increase demand and thus lower costs per unit.

“BP Amoco is the world’s largest manufacturer of solar cells and it makes sense that we should also be one of the world’s largest users of the technology,” Mr Larsen said.

The panels at Papakura were manufactured by BP’s solar energy division in Australia which is working on developing ever-increasing efficiency in solar panels, having already made the world’s most efficient panels.

Solar-powered service stations are also a means of actioning BP Amoco’s five point programme to seek solutions to the issue of climate change.

These five steps are: to control BP Amoco’s emissions; to fund continuing scientific research; to take initiatives for joint implementation; to develop alternative fuels for the long term; and to contribute to the public policy debate in search of the wider global answers to the problem.


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