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UK Ambulances Have Solar Panels Fitted

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) NHS Foundation Trust has a huge fleet of ambulances here in the UK. In an attempt to reduce its large fuel bill by as much as £400,000 it is installing 5mm thick solar panels on the vehicle roofs commencing April 2013.

Ambulances to have solar panels fitted © by Mark-Hobbs

The fleet is currently made up of 200 ambulances and 120 response cars and it hopes to have them all fully equipped with the solar panels over a 60 month period as the vehicles are replaced.

They have recently received 36 Ford Mondeo estates on the roofs of which they are placing two 34-watt solar panels.

These vehicles actually carry a secondary battery that is used to charge the mobile data technology, medical equipment, blue flashing lights and radio. Some of this equipment provides the driver and the crewmember with details about the incident. The solar panels are to be used to keep this secondary battery charged.

SCAS spend over £2.5 million on fuel every year and estimate that they will save between 10% to 15% by having the solar panels installed.

This particular trust believes that they are at the forefront of installing this level of technology on ambulances in the UK. Smaller powered units have been used elsewhere. The solar panels will have a ten-year life expectancy.

In addition to installing the panels they are also having a special “black box” telematics system put in to provide information about the vehicle.

At the moment the ambulance crew either sit in their vehicle with the engine on between jobs charging up the secondary battery or they go back to an ambulance station to do it. From the beginning of 2012 the trust trialled this new solar panel system on a couple of their cars and it has proved to be most effective. Daylight is converted into voltage by the solar panels with a separate C-Tec regulator located in the boot providing the power for their equipment.

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