In the trucking industry, fuel consumption is one of the top expenses when it comes to being on the road. Carbon emissions, on the other hand, are costly to the environment. As the industry looks to reduce both cost and environmental impact, some companies are exploring the option of solar panels on trucks.
Solar panels for trucks were created to use solar energy from sunlight to generate electrical energy to power it with renewable power. The solar panels are installed on the roof of the truck and/or trailer. With such a large surface area a substantial number of solar panels can be used in this case. The energy that is produced can have various uses such as lift gates, power jacks, trucking equipment and even refrigeration in the trailer.
The average solar panel weighs about 40 pounds but sleeker lighter ones are being specifically designed for the top of trucks and trailers. They weigh in at about 11 pounds in comparison. With this technology it will not impact logistics or the weight of your truck.
The cost of solar panels obviously varies depending on how much surface you are going to cover and how many watts of power you would like to produce. When it comes to budgeting, you can expect to pay about $1.50-$2.00 per watt, depending on usage. Most suppliers do provide payments plans so that you do not need to have the money upfront to pay for the solar panel installation.
There are challenges that come along with solar panels, the battery life can be short, finding charging stations when needed, as well as, unreliable torque and power performances. This is something that is always being worked on and has come along way in the past decade and will continue to advance.
In conclusion, adding solar panels to your truck is a larger upfront cost but they will reduce your long-term cost when it comes to fuel. The money that you save in fuel is enough to make it worth it for you to consider adding solar panels to your truck. These days, there is a lot of talk about reducing carbon footprint in the world and this is one way the trucking industry can contribute to reducing carbon emissions while still delivering valuable goods efficiently.
The trucking industry is constantly evolving. Many large companies in the industry are exploring how solar panels could help to their company overall, including the drivers specifically. Solar panels have quickly become an option to solve some everyday problems that truckers deal with.
When solar panels were first introduced to the market, they were expensive, heavy and were not aerodynamic which was interfering with driving down a long stretch of road. Flash forward to today, and solar panels that are specifically designed for the trucking industry are flexible, thin and lightweight while being able to be shaped around the curves of the truck.
There are pros and cons to having solar panels installed on your truck or fleet. When you look at both, for the most part, the pros outweigh the cons. There is no doubt one of the biggest cons is the initial instillation cost, especially if you plan to do more than one truck at once. It can be overwhelming but it is important to look at the long-term benefits. It could actually save you money in the end. If the solar system is able to reduce idling time this is going to save on your battery, HVAC system and fuel costs.
Exposure to the sun can also be an issue when it comes to solar systems. Depending on where your trip is and the time of year, the amount of sun can vary which will obviously impact the effectiveness of the system. Parking options are usually limited; therefore, you can’t always find the most amount of sun to make the system work at its best.
When the solar system is working at its full capability it can decrease the amount of time and money that is spent on roadside assistance. By supporting the trucks battery to operate things like the HVAC system, modern conveniences in the truck, such as a refrigerator or microwave, as well as, it will make it less likely that a trucker will get stuck on the side of the road waiting for a jump-start. A solar system can help to slightly increase the life of the truck’s main and auxiliary batteries, along with fuel economy.
Drivers that have been introduced to solar systems on their truck have found they can be very convenient for a number of reasons. The system allows the refrigerator to stay on while the truck isn’t running which can eliminate the pain of having to unload and load the refrigerator for short stops or weekend breaks. It can also allow the HVAC system to operate without the truck idling which can give the driver a good night’s sleep without the engine running.
Overall, a solar system can be an expensive investment but because of driver’s satisfaction, fuel economy and increased life in the batteries of a truck it is definitely an option to consider.