Trailar’s solar panels for commercial vehicles can cut fuel costs by up to 5.5%, according to a recent trial carried out with Clean Linen Services.

In fact, the solar panels are so effective in cutting emissions that they are featured in the government’s  recently published Transport Decarbonisation Plan, after the company impressed DfT officials with their performance.

The start-up, which will be exhibiting its solar panel technology at the Freight in the City Expo in September, fits ultra-thin solar mats to the roof of commercial vehicles, saving customers fuel, CO2 and maintenance costs.

The mats are then connected to a Smart Charge Controller, which regulates the transfer of energy from the alternator and solar mats to the battery.

Sensors then monitor all electrical characteristics, calculating fuel and CO2 saved by the utilisation of clean, solar energy.

Intelligent telematics provides data-driven opportunities to improve operational performance, including tail-lift counts and battery status reports and optimised vehicle utilisation data.

Clean Linen Services trialled the technology for over a year on one of its trucks. The vehicle operates seven days a week and travels 90,000km annually, with the tail-lift used around 48 times a day.

The company found that by fitting Trailar solar mats to the roof of the vehicle, fuel use was cut by 5.5%, the equivalent  of 1,475kg CO2 saving per vehicle each year.

Peter Cox, head of transport at Clean Linen Services, said “I was very keen to see what real-world benefits it could bring to our operation, especially with a large proportion of our delivery and collection points being in urban environments.

“For the first time we have a piece of fuel-saving technology that actively records and reports its own performance. The analytics information on running times, idling and overall performance, mean we can make decisions that directly benefits our operation as well as helping the environment.”

Trailar co-founder Aaron Thomas said the technology was originally developed to disrupt the transport industry adding that sales are growing fast both in the UK and across the globe. “If we can make this work in UK weather conditions, we can make it work anywhere and we are now going global as a company.”

The Trailar team is looking forward to welcoming visitors at the show and talking to them about how they can also cut their fuel usage significantly with this simple but ingenious technology, which can take less than three hours to fit, minimising fleet downtime.

Freight in the City Expo is a free-to-attend one-day event focused on best practice operation and latest technology for urban freight deliveries. It takes place on 28 September at London’s Alexandra Palace, so register today for your free pass.