A Look at How Solar Can Change The Transportation Industry

5 lanes of cars on the freeway

Solar power is something that can be found in many areas of life today. From homes and businesses to cars and even heavy-duty trucks used in the transport industry, you can find solar power in every direction. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends those that who want to own environmentally-friendly vehicles check to see if the vehicles they are considering are SmartWay vehicles.

Vehicles that are certified to be SmartWay vehicles are those that have lower fog forming emissions than other vehicles and lower the formation of greenhouse gases. Many transport companies today including companies like auto transport company A-1 Auto Transport are choosing to partner with the EPA and are working towards purchasing heavy-duty transport trucks that are fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly.

There are several ways that solar can work to change the transport industry, and not only through solar-powered engines or fuel efficiency.

Power Systems

Many large transport trucks operate with refrigeration and HVAC during transport and there are now ways to utilize solar power through solar panels to power up the refrigeration and HVAC units as well as battery chargers, lift gates, and other electric systems on the trucks.

On a standard transport truck, the driver will often need to let the truck idle to maintain power. This not only wastes fuel, but it puts harmful emissions into the atmosphere. With solar panels to help power systems on these large trucks, drivers will not need to let the truck sit and idle because solar power will eliminate that need.

Solar Powered Roadways

Companies like Solar Roadways, an Idaho based solar company, have invested in solutions for powering the nation's roadways through solar panels. While this is not something that has taken shape across the nation, the company did, in fact, install solar panels in Jeff Jones Town Square in Sandpoint, Idaho on 150 square feet of the sidewalk to power lighting. The initial cost for the venture was $60,000 and was installed in August 2018.

If this were done on a large scale across the nearly 30,000 square miles of highway roads across the United States, it would be able to generate triple the amount of power used in America. Implementation of a solar power grid this large however would essentially range upwards of $70 trillion or more dollars over the next two to three decades. It would, however, help cut the transport costs by adding greener power systems across the U.S highway system.

A 300-watt solar panel can generate enough power for a battery and can maintain a charge for up to 2 hours. This is two hours that a transport truck will not need to idle, wasting fuel and releasing carbon dioxide into the air. With rechargeable solar batteries, companies will find fewer battery purchases and more time available for transport rather than spending time calling for emergency vehicle assistance.

While solar power is not going to cut out all fuel costs for the transport industry, it does offer a great way to achieve power with lower fuel usage, less emissions into the atmosphere and even with the overall cost for switching to solar power, the return on investment can be seen typically in under one year after the switch to solar.  Those who own fleets can consider the savings to be made from solar panels with a reduction of idle time and longer battery life for their transport trucks.

Solar Powered Parking

There will be 11 million electric vehicle charging stations in the US by 2020.  That is why ware are building the largest crowdsourced database of "solar parking lots". We already have thousands of parking lots listed on Solar Parking Lots Map.

Overall, when applied correctly, solar power can greatly benefit the transport industry and those served by the industry each year. 

Click on the map of solar farms in Texas and solar farms in California to search for locations.