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Solar power supports trailer fridge batteries

UK: McBurney Transport Group has opted to fit all new refrigerated trailers with solar panels to keep fridge batteries in a charged state.

The decision to fit the 50W panels from Genie Insights follows an extensive one-year trial. 

McBurney Transport Group has been using an asset management system from Freeway Fleet Systems, since 2018. The system, which was also supplied and implemented by Genie Insights, manages all of McBurney Group’s fleet maintenance, scheduling and analysis. Using three years of data from the Freeway system, the company was able to ascertain the extent of its fridge battery related costs so recognised the benefit that solar power could potentially deliver.

In 2021, McBurney Group had a solar panel fitted to one trailer and ran this in the fleet for 12 months as a trial, including over the winter period to ensure that the panels could perform all year round. The test trailer operated all over the UK and Ireland including the most remote northerly regions of the country with the worst weather conditions and shortest daylight hours.

During the trial, multiple downloads were taken from the solar panel’s charge controller at key points throughout the year, which gave visibility of the battery’s state of charge. This data enabled McBurney Group to confirm that whilst there was a draw being taken from the battery when the fridge was not running, the solar panel was putting enough charge back in to counteract this consumption. This data, coupled with the fact that there were no fridge battery related costs recorded during the same period, proved the success of the trial.

Following the successful trial, the company is now in the process of fitting 146 new trailers with Genie Insights’ solar panel kits.

Because the solar panel prevents the battery from draining completely and having to be jump started, it also prolongs the life of the battery giving a secondary benefit. Not only will McBurney Group see a cost saving from reduced breakdowns, it will also save on premature battery replacements.  

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