Go-Ahead Group extends solar panels trials to Singapore

Go-Ahead Singapore solar panels trial

Success with a trial of roof-mounted solar panels on 18 members of its Bluestar fleet in Southampton has led the Go-Ahead Group to extend the concept to its operation in Singapore.

The six-month proof of concept exercise by Go-Ahead Singapore has seen solar panels fitted to a pair of diesel buses. They are expected to help the operator to save 1,400 litres of fuel per year and reduce its carbon emissions by 3,700kg.

The panels, supplied by Trailar, are 1.6mm thick and weigh less than 20kg. They can generate 1kW of electricity and they will be used to charge the batteries on each bus, removing that load from the alternator. The trial in Singapore aims to examine their effectiveness at reducing fuel consumption and how they withstand the climate there.

Go-Ahead Singapore will operate the two buses involved on service 15 from Pasir Ras interchange. It is 33km in length. The company says that it considered undertaking the trial on shorter routes but decided that a longer service would be a better test of the system.

Adds Go-Ahead Singapore Managing Director Andrew Thompson: “It was based on the success of the trial in Southampton that we decided to bring the idea to Singapore. We think that solar panels should be even more effective in the climate here.

“If we see the sort of savings and benefits that we expect then we would certainly be looking to fit the panels to more vehicles, potentially including our battery-electric buses. We need to collaborate with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on the project; the buses all belong to LTA, but it has been incredibly supportive.

“A lot of the diesel buses in Singapore have many years of life left in them. By fitting solar panels, we can make them even more green and efficient.”