How Work Truck Solar Solutions Keep Your Liftgates Running and Your Trucks on the Road

For commercial fleet operators, it’s critical to minimize operating costs and keep vehicles up and running. Liftgates, pallet jackets, and power truck peripherals have always created challenges. These devices run on battery power, and keeping those batteries charged by using generators or idling can run up fuel costs in a hurry. And, in many jurisdictions, excessive idling is prohibited.

Failure to regularly charge batteries can result in dead peripherals and stick operators with costly downtime and service call charges. In response, many fleet owners are turning to innovative solar power solutions to keep fuel costs down and maximize vehicle uptime.

The Problem With Legacy Truck Battery Charging Solutions

The challenges with traditional work truck battery charging can be summarized in three words — cost, pollution, and noise. Generators are expensive to purchase, require regular maintenance, and consume costly fuel. Another unwelcome byproduct is noise — commercial generators are very loud. Finally, fully draining and recharging batteries takes its toll on battery life and performance. Premature battery replacement is another significant expense for fleet operators.

In the past, trucks without generators have idled the engine to directly charge lift gate and peripheral batteries. Idling trucks produce significant amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. As a result, many states have laws restricting the practice. For example, in California, operators of large diesel trucks are prohibited from idling for more than five minutes.


How Solar Can Cut Idling and Save You Money

Purpose-built work and semi truck solar solutions are designed to meet the tough demands of the commercial trucking and delivery industry. Solar panels for semi trucks and other vehicles are mounted flat on the trailer or service body with minimal impact on the vehicle’s height or profile. These panels convert solar energy to supplement power from the truck alternator, keeping the liftgate and auxiliary batteries charged and healthy.

Next-generation solutions offer greater utility and performance. For example, the Go Power! Phantom Smart Charging System is engineered specifically for electric pallet jacks and liftgates. The dual source charger provides solar charging whether vehicles are parked or driving.

The Phantom system includes several innovations to provide fleet operators with charging flexibility and performance, including:

  • Dual-source charging that automatically supplies power to two 12 or 24 volt DC sources with the dual in/dual out Phantom charge controller
  • An intelligent charging function that boosts voltage to more effectively charge batteries
  • A redesigned and rugged intelligent boost charger
  • On-truck charging that allows electric pallet jacks to remain on the vehicle all the time, charged and at the ready
  • Supports emergency charging between pallet jacks and liftgates


A Host of Benefits For Fleet Operators

Trucking company executives have a lot to consider when determining the potential return on work truck solar systems investment. Here are the most common benefits that solar delivers:

Reduced fuel consumption. Replacing generators and minimizing idling can provide significant fuel cost savings for trucking companies. Eliminating idling during liftgate operation can save up to an estimated $40 per day per truck in fuel costs. And, as solar systems harvest free power from the sun, solar’s return on investment grows over time.

Less noise and pollution. Using work truck solar solutions eliminates generator pollution and noise and minimizes idling truck emissions.

Fewer service calls and missed deliveries. Dead liftgate batteries mean a work truck is out of commission, often requiring a service call. Missed deliveries can create big customer satisfaction headaches in the competitive trucking industry.

Eliminates idling. Many drivers must idle their rigs to charge their batteries, even in defiance of local regulations. As a result, many large US cities hand out thousands of dollars in idling fines every week. Using work and semi truck solar solutions can help fleet operators minimize their ticket costs.

Better driver productivity and fleet optimization. Trucking companies run on thin margins, and it’s critical to manage performance tightly. Service calls and idling mean trucks aren’t delivering, drivers are being paid to park, and profitability is suffering. Fleet solar systems help keep batteries charged and drivers on the road.

Improved battery performance and longevity. Over time, incorrectly charged batteries will suffer reduced performance and eventually fail. The resulting dead battery service calls and premature battery replacement are expensive propositions. Work truck solar solutions keep batteries charged, healthy and extend their lifespan. Based on typical use, fleet operators using best-in-class solar solutions can expect up to a four times improvement in the lifespan of their liftgate and pallet jack batteries and a return on investment in as little as a year.

Lower maintenance. Unlike generators, solar systems don’t require regular, costly maintenance. Solar systems are virtually maintenance-free aside from keeping panels clean and the occasional system and component check.

Easy to install. It’s simple and cost-effective for most fleet operators to retrofit their rigs with purpose-built solar solutions.


Can You Cut Your Costs With Work Truck Solar?

Fleet owners are always looking for ways to lower costs and improve productivity. As fuel costs continue to rise and environmental restrictions tighten, solar solutions offer a compelling means to help out the bottom line — and the planet.


At Go Power!, we’ve been a leader in solar solutions since 1996 and have shipped more than a million solar panels. Contact us to find out how work truck solar solutions can make a difference for your business.