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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Dec. 22) – Tahiti has its first solar-powered service station, enabling it to produce nearly 30 percent of the electricity it needs to operate from a 100-square-meter (1,076-sq. ft.) solar panel.

The solar installation was part of a 100 million French Pacific franc (US$1.13 million/€838,000) renovation and enlargement of the Total service station located in Tahiti's south coast Commune of Papara, 34 kilometers (21 miles) from Papeete.

The solar photovoltaic installation involved collaboration between the French oil company Total and the Environmental and Energy Control Agency, known by its French initials of ADEME.

Total officials said the service station is the first in a series of solar-powered stations planned for French Polynesia. They hope to install one such station a year. Total is one of three oil companies that operate service stations in Tahiti. The other two are Shell and Mobil. Service stations are operated under franchises.

The Papara station was originally built 20 years ago. The new station inaugurated this week has an area six times larger.

The solar panels are installed on the roof of the station. Total officials and the operators of the service station are very satisfied with the results. The attendants proudly point to a counter installed in plain public view that shows the volume of solar-produced electricity and the amount of carbon monoxide that was not produced as a result of this energy saving system.

The Papara station also has newly installed underground fuel storage tanks that are double-lined with fiberglass. The polyethylene piping is specially adapted for hydrocarbons.

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2

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