Solar panel powered trailer 1

Tesco is rolling out solar panels to power refrigeration units on its HGV fleet.

The supermarket said the switch from traditional diesel engine technology would save 2,000 litres of diesel per year for each vehicle, or more than five tonnes of carbon per annum.

The first 14-metre refrigerated trailer based at Tesco’s Peterborough distribution centre has already hit the road, with three more to come online at the DC later this year.

Each trailer roof is fitted with 12 lightweight solar panels which store electrical energy in long-life lithium batteries to provide power to the refrigeration unit.

The joint initiative with Marshall Fleet Solutions (MFS) comes after Tesco committed to become net zero in its own operations by 2035.

In December last year it began trialling electric heavy freight articulated trucks to deliver goods to its distribution centre in Magor, Wales. Last year in Glasgow, Tesco also launched a new fleet of home delivery vans powered by green energy.

“Our distribution network is one of the largest in the UK and will play an important role in our efforts to become net zero by 2035,” said Tesco fleet engineering manager Cliff Smith.

“With our electric HGVs, electric home delivery vans and now solar-powered refrigeration units, Tesco is leading the way in electric haulage innovation, helping to tackle road transport emissions.”

MFS MD Mark Howell said: “With a significant trailer fleet, the successful use of solar-powered refrigerated trailers within the Tesco distribution operation cannot be underestimated, in terms of its significantly positive environmental impact.

“Both Tesco and MFS share similar sustainability and carbon reduction plans. As a result of MFS’s long association with Tesco as approved suppliers of Thermo King transport refrigeration systems, this initiative builds on the strength of this relationship, whilst helping to deliver on Tesco’s global sustainability goals.”