Scania develops solar cell-clad trailer

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Swedish truck maker Scania is developing an 18-meter long solar cell-clad trailer that will be able to generate energy from devices along 140m2 of surface area on the sides and roof.

The solar array is being conceived for use on plug-in hybrid trucks to reduce fossil fuel consumption. “Initial tests indicate possible fuel savings of 5-10% in Sweden, and twice that amount in sun-rich southern Spain,” said Scania. “In total, the solar panels are expected, in Sweden, to annually generate 14,000 kWh.”

The research project – funded by Swedish government innovation agency Vinnova, Volkswagen-owned Scania and Swedish trucking company Ernst Express – also aims to test how the solar trailers could feed electricity into the grid when truck batteries are fully charged and vehicles parked.

Swedish thin-film panel maker Midsummer is a partner in the project along with electric vehicle charging company Dalakraft and Sweden’s Uppsala University.

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Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and a sister organization are also trying to demonstrate the marketability of PV applications for commercial transport. A three-year research project is set to develop a concept to facilitate vehicle-integrated solar modules for electric cars and heavy-duty vehicles.

Dutch companies Lightyear and DSM NV are also aiming to start commercial production of the former’s electric vehicle solar roof. That 5m² device consists of a double-curved, glass-covered solar panel backed with maximum power point trackers.

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