A study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany considers that installing solar panels in commercial vehicles is possible to reduce fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and costs of commercial transport.

The survey, which brings clean energy closer to the commercial mobility sector, uno de los más contaminantes, que cuenta con una particularidad: es la primera que llega a esta conclusión no solo con datos figurados, sino con información real recogida de seis semirremolques durante seis meses de seguimiento en sus rutas estándar, tanto en Estados Unidos como in Europe.

Why do you say it’s viable?

Although these utility vehicles did not cover their journeys with photovoltaic solar panels attached, they did. equipped with irradiation sensors whose data was collected and analyzed by the research team.

Thus, and with the collaboration of the transport and logistics companies Bezinger and Dachser, the performance study carried out on the potential irradiation of these operations showed that a refrigerated semi-trailer of 40 tonnes with photovoltaic modules over its 36 meters squares the bridge could save up to 1900 liters of fuel per year.

In the opinion of Matthieu Ebert, head of the efficiency and new concepts unit, “The data collected by the roofs which, potentially, can be likened to photovoltaic modules, allow us to extract credible conclusions on the feasibility of these systems.

Another aspect that the scientists at Fraunhofer ISE have focused on is the design of photovoltaic panels for trucks; fundamental aspect for its integration into commercial vehicles to be viable.

Thus, according to the institute, solar panels for logistics should be as light as possible, to avoid any additional load. But in addition to being light, these modules must be able to be installed on the upper deck of trucks without exceeding the maximum authorized heights.

The researchers also point out that the photovoltaic modules of commercial vehicles will have to withstand high stress during journeys with, for example, practically constant vibrations, therefore development ready to withstand tensions will be necessary.

The results of this work will be presented during the European Conference on Solar Photovoltaic Energy EU-PVSEC 2017. At this event, researchers from the Fraunhofer ISE will defend the potential of solar photovoltaic energy for the logistics and transport sector.

“We want photovoltaic technology to be available for the logistics sector and to help reduce costs”, explains Ebert after the study which found that power supply modules for driving or for cooling are possible and represent significant fuel savings. In addition, this advance would make it possible to reduce pollutant emissions into the atmosphere, progress would be made towards a more sustainable transport and logistics sector.

More information: Fraunhofer ISE