Solar Solutions : Fleets Harness Sun’s Energy to Meet Growing Power Needs

A growing number of fleets are turning to an alternative energy source — the sun — to help meet the growing demand for power on board their trucks.

Solar panels installed on the tops of truck cabs and trailers are generating energy for a variety of systems, including auxiliary power units to provide in-cab driver comfort, as well as for trailer refrigeration units and even liftgates.

And the latest trailer tracking devices use solar to support more frequent data reporting without the need to plug into an electrical connection.

About five years ago, Mesilla Valley Transportation developed an in-house solar-power system to provide longer battery life for 30 of the fleet’s trucks with auxiliary power units. Four years later, CEO Royal Jones realized those 30 trucks still had the same batteries.

“That constant triple charge from the sun makes your battery live and live,” Jones said, adding that his company has moved from its in-house solution to solar panels from eNow, which are now on 219 of the fleet’s trucks.