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solar panels help fire trucks use less gas?

The Fire & Medical division in Lawrence-Douglas county, Kansas is undertaking an interesting pilot program using 80watt solar panels to help reduce fuel costs for fire trucks and ambulances when they are idling. Often emergency vehicles turn signals and radios are operating when the vehicles are idling which discharges the batteries in the vehicles very quickly, this puts extra load on the alternator, end result the fire truck has to burn more fuel.

The goal of the solar panels that have been installed on two fire trucks and ambulances is to keep the batteries charged without the use of the alternator, which can save the Fire & Medical division enough on fuel costs to hopefully break even within 24 months, the cost of the solar panels was $500 each. I wanted to highlight this story since its a good example of how people are using small scale solar power to make a large financial impact. If the results of the tests are positive then the county will add a solar panel to their fleet of fire trucks and ambulances, which would greatly increase the savings. What do you think about this test project? Do you think the project will make financial sense?

Author: Deep Patel

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