Details of solar panels for five Oxford Tube Panoramas released

Further information has been released about the solar panels that are to be fitted to five of the 34 Plaxton Panorama-bodied Volvo B11RLE double-decker coaches that are on order for Stagecoach’s Oxford Tube service.

The 3mm solar panels for the Oxford Tube coaches have been designed by UK company Trailar. They will provide energy to power all on-board electrical equipment. That will minimise the auxiliary load on the engine, reducing fuel consumption.

The aim is for each coach that is fitted with the solar panels to consume over 1,500 litres of fuel per year less than one that lacks them. Such a saving would result in an annual per vehicle reduction of CO2 emissions by over 4,000kg.

To achieve the same level of annual carbon offsetting impact that the five solar panel equipped coaches will deliver would require the planting 331 trees and growing them for 10 years, Stagecoach says. They will be the first vehicles for the group that will be equipped with the technology.

Trailar Co-Founder and Managing Director Aaron Thomas says the supplier’s solar panel solutions are available across a variety of commercial vehicles. “We are excited to be working with Stagecoach and supporting it in its green agenda by further reducing its environmental impact and operating costs through reduced fuel and maintenance spend,” adds Mr Thomas.

The 34 Panoramas – the largest single order for coaches ever placed by Stagecoach, the group says – represent an investment of £13m. The first will debut in service “before Christmas.” Among a host of internal features will be screens that provide estimated times of arrival.