Reducing the cost of household bills is one of the primary reasons for installing solar panels. The average household saves £635 per annum on their energy bills by installing their own photovoltaic system. Not only can homes and businesses save by reducing the amount of electricity used from the grid but any energy produced is then paid for by the Feed in Tariff.
Seeing solar panels on the roofs of houses is becoming increasingly common and now, residents of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire will be able to see them on the roofs of ambulances too.
This is thanks to a new initiative that has been launched by South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) NHS Foundation Trust in an attempt to reduce fuel costs. Currently, the SCAS spends around £2.5 million on fuel each year for its 320 vehicles but the installation of solar panels on the roofs could save the body up to £400,000.
So far, two 34 watt panels have been installed on the roofs of 36 Ford Mondeo estates and over the next five years, the SCAS is to install panels on all of its 120 response cars and 200 ambulances.
These vehicles cover an area of 3,554 square miles and serve a population of over four million.
Commenting on this move towards renewable energy, Rick Stillman, head of fleets at SCAS, said: "There is great pressure on costs at the moment, and we believe that this initiative will bring savings for us."
The panels are being used to charge the vehicles’ secondary batteries. These batteries power the blue light systems, radio, essential medical equipment and the on-board 'mobile data systems' which provide crew with directions and information about incidents.
Richard Kersley, vehicle commissioning team leader at SCAS who is leading the installation, said: "It is only recently that we’ve been able to get solar panels that have the capacity to meet our needs.
"In essence, the solar panels convert daylight into voltage and then a separate C-Tec regulator, which we are positioning in the boot, enables us to power our equipment."