As part of a larger investment into Welsh Ambulances, 33 non-emergency patient transport vehicles will be fitted with MIPV solar panels.
The new ambulances are fitted with the most up-to-date communications systems and equipment and will be more reliable, with promise better performance and lower running costs – thanks to MIPV solar modules. They will also be cleaner and greener, performing to the latest Europe-compliant emission specifications.
“I’m particularly pleased that all 33 of the new non-emergency patient transport vehicles will be fitted with solar panels to convert available sunlight into electricity,” said health minister Vaughan Gething.
“Using solar panels instead of mains chargers negates the need to install multiple charging points, which will reduce our energy consumption, as well as the health and safety risks posed by trailing leads.”
The Welsh ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) vehicles require electric power via a shoreline from the grid when parked overnight to support live on board equipment. Failure to do so could deplete the battery overnight and the vehicle could fail to start thus impacting on service delivery to patients.
Solar PV was chosen as the means of remotely trickle charging the battery. The purpose of the trial was to verify, whether solar PV could supply the required energy over the critical winter period when sunshine levels were low and power demand of vehicles high. WAST’S Fleet Environmental lead Gavin Lane, a Regional Fleet Manager for the Trust, contacted MIPV as part of his review of available technologies.
MIPV’s CIGS technology based flexible modules were chosen for an initial trial on three ambulances because they were flexible and unlike glass framed silicon cell modules, did not crack and fail prematurely, as evidenced elsewhere within NHS. The superior low light performance and aerodynamic integration onto the vehicle made it an ideal choice.
In September 2018, three ambulances were fitted with 2 X 110 Watt MIPV modules and connected to the battery via charge controllers.
The batteries of the three ambulances were kept charged throughout the entire winter period. MIPV modules satisfied the primary requirement of keeping the battery charged.
The modules have the potential to generate 181 KWH per annum, based on vehicle usage and the potential to save 181 litres of fuel per annum by reducing the load on the alternator.
The other benefits include reduction in idling times as well as reduction in CO2 and NOX pollution by reducing load to engine via the alternator while also extending battery life.
The Welsh Ambulance Service is delighted with the performance of MIPV Solar PV modules. They were easy to fit, elegant and unobtrusive. The modules met the demands of the three trial ambulances during the critical winter period from November 2018 to end of March 2019. We have since fitted 33 further ambulances and to date have had faultless performance from the MIPV modules. The low light efficiency, robustness and the architecture of these modules make them ideal for vehicle integration.
Gavin Lane –Regional Fleet Manager, Welsh Ambulance Services.