CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - One of the largest distributors of home heating oil in the area is now using the sun to help power some of its operations.

Tiger Fuel also has gas stations, and two of its locations now have solar panels.

The company is showing its dedication to going green at two stores on Preston Avenue in Charlottesville and another market in Ruckersville.

Tiger Fuel is a full-service provider of home heating fuels and it also has stores where you can fill up your tank.

The Preston Avenue location has solar panels spaced out on the roof, while the Ruckersville canopy over the gas pumps is covered and will supply 60 percent of the facility's electricity.

The going green initiative is a way to lower costs while also helping the environment.

"What these solar panels are producing is a small portion of their total electric consumption,” Daniel Walsh, the Staunton assistant branch manager of Altenergy, said. “But, you know, making small improvements to your home or to business like changing to LED bulbs from incandescent bulbs can save you a lot of money in the long run. You know, it's a small initial investment but it goes a long way."

The panels are expected to produce more than 59,000 kilowatts of renewable power every year.

While solar panels work best when it's sunny, even on rainy, gloomy days they can still work well to provide power.

Altenergy Incorporated Press Release:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, November 19, 2018 – On Friday, November 9, Gordon Sutton “threw the switch” on a new solar power array at the Preston Avenue Exxon station located in Charlottesville’s Rose Hill neighborhood. The 17.15 kilowatt power system utilizes 49 solar panels that are expected to produce 25,095 kilowatt-hours of power annually— about half of the facility’s electrical needs.

The filling station features The Market at Preston Avenue, a gourmet-to-go deli offering fresh entrees, appetizers, salads, breakfast biscuits, tacos, and desserts prepared daily.

The Preston Avenue and Ruckersville locations will be the eight and ninth locations respectively, and both are offering their new product: Market Fried Chicken. The Market stores are owned and operated by Tiger Fuel Company, a full-service provider of home heating fuels and a petroleum products distributor for Exxon, Shell, BP, CITGO, and its own private label, EXCEL.

“We’d been considering solar for several years, said Sutton, President and CEO, “and in the last eighteen months or so, the price for panels has reduced to the point where solar became feasible for this location. Tax incentives help increase the return on investment, so we determined that it was time to make the commitment. I have friends who are in the solar energy field, and they assured me that the time was right.”

The second store, The Market at Ruckersville, will utilize a solar power array that is expected to supply up to 60% of the facility’s electricity needs. The 54.4 kilowatt system is designed to provide an estimated 59,271 kilowatt-hours of renewable power annually.

The architect engaged to design the Ruckersville store recommended Altenergy, Inc. of Charlottesville to design and install the power system.

“The people at Altenergy were a pleasure to work with," said Sutton. “The proposal and pro-forma were clear and concise, and they set accurate expectations about the process and final results. We’re very excited to see how this works.”

“Tiger Fuel Company has been very successful in the fossil fuel industry, said Shawn Cooke, Altenergy’s Director of Operations. “and I have to congratulate Gordon for his forward-thinking approach to reducing the company’s carbon footprint, He sees the value in green practices and is dedicated to finding more ways to keep improving.”