The first public buses fitted with ultra-thin solar panels started plying the roads on Tuesday (March 30), in a six-month proof-of-concept trial by bus operator Go-Ahead Singapore.
This is the first time such solar panels, which are 1.6mm-thick, flexible and shatterproof, have been installed on buses in Singapore.
They were installed on the roof of two Man A22 Euro 6 diesel-powered buses. These buses will be used on service 15, which starts and ends at Pasir Ris Bus Interchange, in a trial that will run until September.
Weighing less than 20kg, the panels can generate a total of 1,000 watts of energy.
They will be used to charge the battery on the buses, which would otherwise have to rely on the vehicle’s alternator. This will in turn reduce the load on the bus engine.
The bus battery is typically used for ignition and to provide power to the bus when the engine is turned off.
The panels are expected to help Go-Ahead Singapore save 1,400 litres of diesel per bus per year. This is about 3 to 4 per cent of the fuel that is typically consumed by the Man A22 buses and translates to a reduction of 3.7 tonnes of carbon emissions per bus per year.
The six-month trial here aims to evaluate how the buses perform in Singapore, how effective the panels are in harnessing solar energy and reducing fuel consumption, and to ensure that the panels are robust enough to withstand the higher temperatures and the daily washing of the buses.
According to Straits Times