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Frequently Asked Questions


Do you want to decrease idle running time, increase battery lifetime, reduce jump-start service calls, and save diesel fuel? 


Transportation logistics can be challenging, but the load can be significantly lightened if you have the right tools. 


Commercial vehicles and trailers have many batteries to power auxiliary systems, including Trailer Refrigeration Units (TRU), telematics, Auxiliary Power Units (APU) battery banks, liftgate batteries, and the truck battery itself.


Each of these batteries plays a vital role in the transportation process. Solar solutions keep your batteries charged, lengthen their total lifetime, reduce emissions, and save money.

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The graphic below illustrates how a few solar panels can help charge multiple battery systems on your truck and trailer: trailer telematics (TT), lift gates (LG), refrigeration units (TRU), truck starting batteries (SB), APUs, LED lighting, Video systems (VS) and other accessories. 


Semi Truck Graphic


Trailer Refrigeration Units (TRUs)Semi-flexible crystalline solar panel with an integrated charge controller installed on a transportation refrigeration unit.


A trailer full of refrigerated items represents a significant investment and a great responsibility in delivering on time.


Reefer units have batteries to start and, if over-stressed or not maintained, can be drained by parasitic loads. These loads can lead to downtime and service calls.


Forthcoming and active regulation, including new rules proposed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), limits the amount of exhaust your Trailer Refrigeration Units (TRUs) can emit. More than ever, Drivers need to reduce the diesel consumption of their TRUs.


Once a solar panel is installed, your TRU’s batteries will be trickle-charged, so your systems are ready to go when needed, even after long periods of sitting or maintenance. 


Learn more in our blog post, The Ultimate Guide to Solar Panels for Transportation Refrigeration Units: Boosting Efficiency, Reliability, and Savings


Truck BatteriesSolar Panel Installed on the ferring of a truck


Most of the time, the truck battery is charged by the alternator, but what about when the vehicle is off and sitting in the yard? Transportation companies run on efficiency, and a vehicle not starting isn’t an option. 


A panel installed on the hood or fairings can trickle charge the starting battery while moving, but especially when not moving. This means no more service calls to replace or jump-start batteries resulting in a more agile fleet ready to go at a moment’s notice. 


TelematicsTrailer telematics system charged by a solar panel (web)


The rapidly growing telematics industry tracks an ever-expanding set of data points from dozens or hundreds of vehicles in any given fleet. Beyond location, many telematics solutions also track detailed information about a vehicle or trailer's operational conditions or contents.


Solar power can be quickly delivered to the dedicated, rechargeable battery powering the telematics communication and sensor nodes to ensure the battery stays healthy and provides the energy needed for the telematics solution's continuous operation. As long as the vehicle or trailer is stored outside during defined intervals, the solar provides power to ensure a perpetual flow of data from the monitoring sensors in the solution.


Lift GatesLift gate on the back of a semi trailer


Liftgate batteries are a vital piece of a transportation vehicle. They assist in loading and unloading cargo quickly. Traditionally, liftgate batteries are charged via an umbilical cord from the trailer to the truck. If your liftgate was heavily used on a given day, the battery could run out, rendering it useless, leaving you no choice but to make an expensive and time-consuming service call. 


A strategically placed solar panel on the trailer can charge a liftgate when moving or not moving to ensure that, even on the busiest days, your equipment will work as intended, keeping you on schedule.  The lifetime of a liftgate battery will also be extended because the solar panel will keep the battery at a higher state of charge and limit the depth of discharge during daytime deliveries.



Auxiliary Power Units (APUs)Solar panels on top of a trailer charging a lift gate battery


APU batteries often consist of four 100Ah 12V batteries used to store energy to be used when the driver turns the engine off. APUs will power the sleeper unit air conditioning, electric blankets, TV, small fridges, etc. With growing restrictions on when and how long a vehicle can idle, APUs are increasingly used. What happens when they run out of power? 


Solar panels can help mitigate these issues and keep the vehicle’s batteries healthy and working for years. 


Solar panels charge batteries every day, keeping them at a higher state of charge and preventing deep depth of discharge, which reduces battery longevity.


Solar panels mounted on the truck can pass energy to the APU, keeping it charged while driving, so vehicles don’t need to idle in the evening, consume diesel, annoy other drivers, and violate transportation emission laws. 


Do you want to decrease idle running time, increase battery lifetime, reduce jump-start service calls, and save diesel fuel? Contact us

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