PV Magazine reports that oil company Total is getting into solar power, initially to meet their own power needs, but perhaps paving the way for electric car recharges as well - Total to install 200MW of solar on 5,000 service stations.
The project will add 200 MW of solar PV capacity globally, and marks one of Total’s largest forays into the solar PV sector just a few days after the company’s CEO was one of ten oil and gas figureheads to sign a $1 billion investment pledge for clean energy technology development. Total will leverage its close partner, U.S. solar power developer SunPower, to supply the solar panels for the project, which will produce electricity equivalent to that required to power a city of 200,000 people once complete. The French company also calculates that it will save $40 million in its electricity bills a year, and lower its annual carbon emissions by 100,000 tons.
Total confirmed that 800 of the 5,000 installations will be located in France. The details of the project follow on from a pledge by leading members of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) to invest $1 billion over the next ten years in technology that will help the world’s ten largest oil and gas companies to lower their carbon footprint.
This initiative received immediate criticism among environmentalists, who alleged that it was merely a piecemeal offering in the fight against climate change. Total, however, has been a little more progressive than many of its oil rivals, investing $1.1 billion earlier this year to acquire storage developer Saft.