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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Business Note: Solar-powered Gas Stations

Air Date: Week of

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Living on Earth’s Jennifer Chu reports on an effort in Orlando, Florida to power gasoline stations with energy from the sun.


CURWOOD: Just ahead, animal pharmacists. First, this environmental Business Note from Jennifer Chu.


CHU: Some Florida gasoline stations will soon get some extra mileage out of the state's sunshine. The international oil company British Petroleum is installing solar canopies in 40 of its gas stations in the Orlando area. These solar panels will be set up over each gas pump island, and can generate up to 20 kilowatts of electricity a day. That's enough to power the lights and pumps, or about 15 percent of the station's total energy needs. The drawback is that the energy can't be stored for nighttime use.

The solar project is part of BP's $100 million expansion in central Florida. It's part of a plan that also includes the introduction of a low sulfur fuel at these solar driven stations. The new fuel contains 65 percent less sulfur than the average premium gasoline, which is equivalent to taking more than 1600 cars off the road on any given day. But the less polluting fuel comes with a cost. Consumers should expect to pay as much as 25 cents a gallon more for the low sulfur gasoline. So far, BP has retrofitted 14 of its 40 Orlando stations. That's this week's Business Note. I'm Jennifer Chu.

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

[CUTAWAY 2 MUSIC: Hooverphonic, "Waves", THE MAGNIFICENT TREE (SONY/EPIC - 2000)]



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