Benefits of Solar Power in Commercial Transport

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If you own a commercial vehicle and you or your driver idles it to enjoy heating or cooling the cab, and running other accessories, you could be pumping money out the exhaust pipe. Idling a diesel engine burns about 2 litres per hour. If the driver runs the engine through a 10-hour break and another 4 hours during loading and unloading in a single day you burn 28 litres of diesel. At 5 days per week, it amounts to 56 litres and at £1.71 a litre (the average cost in the UK for January 2023) you spend around £240. Over a year you pump over £12 ‘000 straight out the exhaust stack, not to mention harming the environment, and giving other people a feeling of contempt over noise and pollution and commercial transport gets another black eye.

Be careful not to blame your drivers for all that idling if they do not have alternative options. That can cause bad feelings and may result in unnecessary driver turnover.

And all the while you are wearing out and shortening the life of an awfully expensive diesel engine. Can your business really afford that kind of expense? What if you own 10 vehicles? That is £120 ‘000 per year and 10 expensive refreshing of engines. Wouldn’t you rather spend much less and feel much better about being in business?


Solar Power Can Help
But we are not talking about replacing engine power for freight transportation. Diesel still works for now. What we are concerned with is extending the life of your vehicle assets by adapting solar power solutions thereby saving you considerable revenue and keeping your driver or drivers comfortable and happy in their work. After all, idling is noisy and shakes the cab, interfering with their sleep which we know can be dangerous to everyone on the road.
The North American Council for Freight Efficiency states that the right solar equipment can pay for itself in about 3 years’ time.
Consider the Advantages of Using Solar Power
  • Solar panels can be installed on vehicles, tractors, and trailers and are readily available and are easily installed.
  • Keep batteries charged to prevent them from going dead which shortens the life of batteries.
  • Keeping vehicle starting batteries charged saves money by reducing the need for jump starts and ensuing service calls, cuts downtime and extends battery life.
  • Can be used to power for starting vehicle refrigeration units. And actual solar powered trailer refrigeration units are now available from dealers.
  • Provide extra power to prevent losing telematics data.
  • Provide power to run creature comforts in the cab without idling the vehicle’s engine.
  • Your drivers will enjoy uninterrupted sleep making them safer on motorways, improving fleets’ safety scores which can lead to reduced insurance premiums.
Possible Caveats to Ponder
  • The installation of solar panels on vehicles, tractors, and trailers is relatively new and as yet, their life expectancy of them is unknown.
  • Depending on sunlight for power varies by location of where your trips travel. Conditions can affect power availability.
  • Initial capital cost to purchase and install panels and wiring – make sure to shop around.
We believe it is important to remember the sun’s energy represents free electricity for powering numerous commercial vehicle applications. It also offers an opportunity for work shops to sell and install solar panels and wiring that produce energy for seriously reducing idling and saving money. It is up to you to investigate and decide if it is good for your fleet and the planet.
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