Caltex Australia has unveiled fully-transportable solar-powered retail fuel outlets at mining towns Tom Price and Onslow, in what it claims is a world first.

The solar generation capacity of the Tom Price retail fuel outlet is 26 kWh, while the Onslow one is 41 kWh.

Both the sites are more than 1,300 km away from Perth and are not connected to mains power – instead relying on solar and onsite battery storage technology.

The initiative will allow Caltex Australia to supply 24-hour access to diesel in remote parts of Western Australia’s Pilbara region. The unmanned outlets will operate via a card payment system.

“These sites offer the same high-quality diesel available elsewhere across our national network and customers can access it at any time,” said Caltex Network Development Manager for Western Australia Leon Calvetti.

Mr Calvetti said diesel customers driving between remote locations across the state would benefit from the availability of the fuel whenever they needed it.

“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, [which is] many hours’ drive from the nearest major town,” he added.

The Australian company is implementing the initiative to further extend the reach of its National Truck Network – the largest truck refuelling network in Australia, comprising 200 dedicated truck stops and 300 truck-friendly sites across the country.

Mr Calvetti said an additional benefit of the solar-powered sites are that they are easily relocatable and can be transported to a new part of the country if there is no longer the same demand in the area.