Carrier Transicold has expanded its line of Thin Film Flexible Solar Panels designed to help maintain peak performance of transport refrigeration unit (TRU) batteries in a more environmentally sustainable way.

The company now offers 18.5-watt (1.2-amp) and 9.24-watt (0.6-amp) solar panels, in addition to its original 28-watt (1.8-amp) panel, accommodating a wider range of user needs and budgets. These solar panels are designed specifically to maintain TRU battery charge and can be easily installed on the roofs of trailers, truck bodies, and refrigerated railcars chilled by Carrier Transicold or other systems.

Solar panels can offset the draw from accessory electrical devices, significantly reducing callout charges related to the battery. The panels can also help conserve fuel by minimizing the need to run the TRU engine to charge the battery.

“Our amorphous silicon—or a-Si—solar cell technology provides high performance in real-world environments where daylight may be indirect or low,” said Jason Forman, marketing manager, Performance Parts, Carrier Transicold. “Unlike some other solar technologies that require several days of sun soaking to bring the panels up to full functionality, a-Si panels deliver maximum performance without sun soaking. They also begin charging at a higher voltage at a lower angle of light than some other technologies, allowing charging over a longer portion of the day, which is especially helpful in northern regions and in the winter.

“Fleets located farther south in warmer climates will appreciate that a-Si panels do a better job of retaining their efficiency on hot days, in contrast to some other types of solar panels that can lose considerable efficiency when their temperature increases,” he said.

When exposed to daylight, the solar panels continuously charge TRU batteries, ensuring ample power for system starts and helping avoid issues and costs associated with a weak or dead battery. Refrigeration system batteries are often tapped to power additional trailer electronics such as telematics devices, fuel-level sensors, and interior lighting. If the TRU has not been operated for some time and these accessories continue to draw power while the unit is off, its battery might not have enough charge to start the engine.

Carrier Transicold solar panels are lightweight, highly flexible, and measure less than one-eighth of an inch thick. Designed to withstand the harsh transportation environment, they are waterproof and puncture-resistant and have a five-year limited warranty on power output.

To learn more, see www.carrier.com/tru-solar.