McBurney Transport opts for solar power

Ballymena, Northern Ireland: McBurney Transport is fitting its new refrigerated trailers with solar panels to keep fridge batteries charged and prevent battery-related breakdowns.

The panels are from Genie Insights and installation follows a one-year trial. McBurney is now fitting 146 new trailers with Genie Insights’ solar panel kits.

McBurney measured its fridge battery-related costs and the benefit that solar power could potentially deliver from data provided by the Freeway Fleet Systems management system, also supplied by Genie Insights, that it uses.

In 2021, McBurney fitted a solar panel fitted to a trailer and ran this in the fleet for 12 months, including over winter to ensure that the panels could perform all year round. The test trailer operated in the UK, including remote northerly regions with poor weather 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 to confirm that while there was a draw from the battery when the fridge was not running, the solar panel was putting enough charge in to counteract this consumption.

McBurney measured its fridge battery related costs and the benefit that solar power could potentially deliver from data provided by a fleet management system

This data, coupled with the fact that there were no fridge battery-related costs recorded during the same period, demonstrated the value of solar panels.

Solar panels prolong battery life by preventing the battery from completely discharging.

Sammy Hamill, fleet manager, McBurney Transport Group said: “This is just another example of how we have worked closely with Genie Insights to improve the performance of our fleet and uptime for our customers, which is ultimately what we are always striving towards as a business.

“We also like to be at the forefront of trialling new technologies, and we were surprised to see how such a simple and cost-effective solution could provide the answer to the battery related issues we know are becoming increasingly common in the refrigerated transport industry.”