Caltex Australia constructs solar-powered fuel outlets in the Pilbara

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Caltex Australia has built the world’s first fully-transportable solar-powered retail fuel outlets in Western Australia’s Pilbara region that will enable a 24-hour access to diesel in one of Australia’s most remote regions.

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The company’s sites at Tom Price and Onslow – both more than 1300km from Perth – are not connected to a power grid and instead rely on the abundant solar energy of the region and on-site battery storage technology to power the pumps.

Caltex Network Development Manager for WA, Mr Leon Calvetti, said diesel customers driving between remote locations across the state will greatly benefit from the availability of the fuel whenever they need it.

“The biggest challenge of supplying fuel in remote parts of Australia isn’t getting fuel there – after all, we have fuel storage at the site and a great logistics team able to make regular deliveries. The obstacle is powering the pumps so the fuel can get into the customer’s tank – it’s very expensive and inefficient to run a generator when there are only a handful of customers every day,” Mr Calvetti said.

“It’s also difficult to locate staff in the middle of the Pilbara many hours’ drive from the nearest major town. By creating what we believe are the world’s first fully solar-powered fuel facilities, we can efficiently provide diesel in some of the most remote locations of Australia. The whole design is tailored to Australian conditions, given the abundant sun and the long distances between service stations.”

Mr Calvetti also pointed out the option to pay for the fuel via a card payment system, which separates the innovative Caltex sites from other fuel outlets in Australia.

“These sites offer the same high-quality diesel available elsewhere across our national network and customers can access it at any time. But in such remote locations, with only a limited number of customers driving past, don’t expect all the typical services available at other Caltex sites,” Mr Calvetti added.

“While these no-frills facilities won’t provide a pie, a can of soft drink or ice creams, they will help keep drivers of heavy transport and four-wheel-drive vehicles supplied with the diesel they need to get to the next town for a well-earned rest.”