In trucking, is it sunrise for solar?
Originally published on Supply Chain Dive
Solar panels on trucks can supplement battery and power lift gates, though the technology today isn’t enough to power a truck down the road.
Galileo said, “The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.”
So what’s one more task for Ol’ Sol? In addition to ripening those grapes, the sun also can help keep them fresh as they’re transported from farm to market to home. According to a report from the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), “interest in solar panels is growing among fleet managers because truck batteries are often no longer able to meet the power needs of today’s trucks due to increased driver comfort demands, idle reduction regulations and increased tracking requirements.”
The 3 use cases for solar on trucks
Solar panels for trucks differ from those we’re used to seeing on fixed buildings, which are rigid and thick. Panels for trucks are flexible, thin, lightweight and can be affixed to the curves of a tractor. The NACFE report focuses on the three primary uses of solar on tractors:
- Supplementing the battery power for heat, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
- Hotel loads (televisions, coffee makers and microwaves, for example) in the sleeper area.
- Lift gates.