Solar panels for trucks? You might be surprised to learn that solar panel technology is rapidly entering into this industry. Solar panels for trucks are becoming increasingly discussed and utilized by trucking companies. Solar technology is becoming a worthwhile and smart choice for many trucking companies. Keep reading to learn more about trucking with solar panels as well as some of the benefits that come along with this investment.
Solar Panels for Trucks: Benefits to Consider
Solar Panel technology for trucks is still relatively new. However, this technology has progressed significantly from where it once was. The solar panel market has dramatically changed. Products are now flexible, thin, durable, easy to install, and reliable, making it even more enticing for transportation companies to consider.
As transportation companies are also battling a current trucker shortage, solar technology may provide relief. Solar panels can offer potential benefits for drivers, potentially attracting new talent. Additionally, sustainable trucking practices may appeal to a younger environmentally conscious crowd looking for transportation jobs.
The main use of solar panels for trucks is to support the HVAC system and hotel loads without needing to add additional batteries to your truck. Solar panels will help to power and extend battery life, as well as helping to avoid unforeseen roadside emergencies due to dead batteries. According to a Confidence Report on Solar for Trucks and Trailers released by the NACFE, “solar panels can extend the runtime of battery HVAC systems, not only to help the HVAC system make it through the night without draining the truck’s batteries, but also to reduce the load on the alternator the next morning, resulting in fuel savings.”
Solar panels for trucks also provide greater trucker convenience. The implementation of solar panels will allow the refrigerator to remain on, even when the truck is not on. This will greatly help truckers, as they will no longer need to unload and reload their trailers during resets or extended breaks.
Truckers also benefit day-to-day from solar panel technology. Truckers can utilize solar panel technology to power certain items in their cabin such as refrigerators, TV’s, and small electronic devices.
Solar Panels for Trucks: Challenges to Consider
While there are many benefits to trucking with solar panels, there are also challenges to consider. Some of these challenges are: cost and installation difficulty. Solar panels are a significant investment. Roughly, the cost of installing solar panels on a truck is $2,500 and may take 3-4 years to earn back the money.
Another challenge of trucking with solar panels is sun exposure. Geography will play a large role in energy harvesting and fuel savings. Factors such as cloud levels will vary depending on geographical location, therefore affecting how much these panels can be utilized. The less sun exposure panels receive, the less effective they will be, and the less fuel money they will save.
Cleanliness is another challenge to consider. Solar panels are most effective when they are relatively clean. Dust, dirt, snow, and debris can all reduce solar energy conversion efficiency. While there are coatings and finishes to minimize this problem, it is not entirely bulletproof.
Deciding whether or not to invest in solar panels for trucks is both a huge decision and investment. Make sure you are educated on the benefits and challenges before making a decision! Are you a current truck driver? What are your thoughts on trucking with solar panels? Let us know in the comments below and keep an eye out for an episode on trucking with solar panels coming to our podcast, Big Rig Banter, next month!