Thermo King is producing a new unit-mounted solar panel designed to support telematics on applications ranging from freight haulers to service trucks. The solar panel is being showcased at this year’s IANA Intermodal Expo.

The unit saves fuel and reduces downtime lost to dead batteries that may be drained by not keeping the engine running to power the refrigerated trailer, says Thermo King. After a period of not being used, a trailer’s battery loses charge and then needs to be replaced.  The solar panel prevents this by constantly trickle-charging the batteries, keeping them topped off for use at all times.

The panel is designed to fit directly on Thermo King refrigerated trailers but it can also be used for other applications that might require a trickle charger for the battery.

“We’ve already seen a lot of people be very creative with what they’re going to put the solar panel on,” said Paul Kroes, aftermarket product manager for Ingersoll Rand. “Anything that requires a trickle charger for the battery, this is the solution for it.”

The solar panel itself is 13 inches by 22 inches and around one inch thick. In testing Thermo King found that a single panel was sufficient to charge a refrigerated trailer’s batteries and was designed to still be effective in winter when the solar panel is receiving less light.