H.Essers first to innovate with solar panels on trucks in Belgium

GENK, December 2020 - Solar panels have been the solution for many years to make homes and businesses more sustainable. This is also the case at H.Essers. But a year ago, another light went on at the company: ‘why don't we put solar panels on trucks, so that their electronic systems can be powered completely green?’ Dirk Franssens, Fleet Manager, is happy to tell us more about the innovative project.

H. Essers' solar-powered truck with the SolarOnTop technology

Sustainability is one of the biggest goals within H.Essers. In their ongoing search for ways to make things more sustainable, H.Essers recently joined forces with the Dutch company IM Efficiency. Since September, a pilot project has been running in which two of their trailers are fully equipped with solar panels, so that they can investigate 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. It all started with a simple question: can we make a vehicle more energy efficient by using solar panels? In collaboration with IM Efficiency, which is an expert in installing solar panels on heavy vehicles, we converted this question into a working proof-of-concept.

- Dirk Franssens.

Equipping trucks with solar panels can significantly reduce the vehicle's CO₂ emissions. At IM Efficiency we have developed a technology to realize this, called SolarOnTop. The pilot project we are carrying out with H.Essers provides crucial insights to make the SolarOnTop robust, reliable and effective. This two-vehicle trial is a great first step.

- Martijn Ildiz, CEO of IM Efficiency

The two trailers are currently being actively used within the fleet. And the expectations are high.

On to spring

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 are counting on a CO₂ reduction of 5 tons per installation. It remains to be seen exactly what the results of the project will because we started in September and soon found ourselves in the dark months, we don't expect to see more results until spring. It may sound futuristic now, but if IM Efficiency's SolarOnTop installation proves successful for our trucks, we will probably equip a large part of the fleet with solar panels.

- Dirk Franssens