Solar panels on trucks, a first by H.Essers

Solar panels on trucks, a first by H.Essers

For many years, solar panels have been the ideal solution to make homes and businesses more sustainable. This is also the case for H.Essers. However, about a year ago another light bulb went off: why not install solar panels on trucks to make the electronic systems run completely on green power? Dirk Franssens, Fleet Manager, would like to tell us more about this novelty project.

Sustainability is one of the biggest goals within our company. In our ongoing search for ways to improve our sustainability, we recently joined forces with the Dutch company IM Efficiency. A pilot project, in which two of our trailers are fully equipped with solar panels, was launched in September, aimed at investigating the extent to which solar energy can provide a vehicle with green power. “We are the first logistics player in Belgium to try this out,” says Dirk Franssens. “It all started with a simple question: can we make a vehicle more energy efficient by using solar panels? In collaboration with IM Efficiency, experts in installing solar panels on heavy vehicles, we converted this question into a working proof of concept.”

Special technology

Martijn Ildiz, CEO of IM Efficiency, is following the project closely: “Equipping trucks with solar panels can significantly reduce the vehicle’s CO2 emissions. IM Efficiency developed a technology to achieve this: SolarOnTop. The pilot project we are running with H.Essers provides crucial insights to make the SolarOnTop robust, reliable and effective. This trial, which involves two vehicles, is a great first step.”

Wait until spring

The two trailers are currently actively used within the fleet. And expectations are high. Dirk: “That’s why we want to collect as much data as possible about the precise operation of the solar panels in combination with the truck. We’re counting on a CO2 saving of 5 tonnes per installation.” It remains to be seen exactly what results the project will produce. “Because we started in September and the darkest months of the year were around the corner, we expect to see more results once spring arrives,” explains Dirk Franssens. “It may sound a bit futuristic now, but if IM Efficiency’s SolarOnTop installation proves successful for our trucks, we might eventually equip a large part of our fleet with solar panels.”

Keen to find out about the steps we are taking to make our company even more sustainable? Read more about it in our very first Sustainability Report. Download the report here.