Shell opens solar-powered petrol stations

European service station project aims to educate public about renewable energies

Solar panels fitted on the roofs of petrol filling stations were officially launched by Shell Solar today at four sites in the Netherlands and Germany. These are among the first service stations in Europe to have photovoltaic panels installed and are the first installed by Shell, which is rapidly expanding its renewable energy activities worldwide. At the German stations in Hamburg, power from the solar cells will be fed into chargers for electric vehicles, though Shell acknowledges that the move is symbolic since the amount of power delivered will be tiny in comparison with the consumption of electric vehicles. At the Dutch stations, part of the facilities' own electricity needs will be met through self-generated solar electricity, while the rest will be delivered by power firm Nuon, which will guarantee the power source to be renewable. Head of Shell Solar, Willem-Jan van Wijk, told ENDS Daily that eight more solar-powered service stations should open in Germany this year. More might follow after that, but there were no firm plans at this stage, he said. Mr van Wijk stressed that public education about renewable energy was one of the most important objectives of the project. Participating stations will carry information about solar power for domestic use and about renewable energy more generally.

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