Solar energy helps power Amoco service station

provided by BP Solarex

obby 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 last month, 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 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 base line. 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 was launched November 1 to allow customers to directly support a local solar energy education program. BP Amoco donated 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, NJ, the Atlantic Business Unit is part of BP Amoco's US Retail group and manages service stations in seven states and the District of Columbia.

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.