Solar Energy: Volvo Tractors with Solar Panels

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In an era where sustainable solutions are increasingly vital, Volvo emerges a frontrunner in the transportation industry with its innovation: Volvo tractors equipped with solar panels. So, we went and grabbed ourselves a couple to try out. This article explores how these vehicles utilize solar energy to provide a cleaner, more efficient solution for a segment of commercial transportation.


Volvo tractors equipped with solar panels represent a small, yet significant leap toward sustainability in commercial transportation. These heavy-duty vehicles feature specially integrated solar panels mounted on their roof, capturing sunlight, and converting it into electricity.

2023 Volvo VNL with Solar Panel Option

The stored solar energy helps to power the vehicle’s batteries and other auxiliary electrical components, offering an eco-friendly alternative to idling traditional diesel-powered tractors.

Solar Energy Benefits

Reduced Environmental Impact

For instance, parked idle. Volvo tractors equipped with solar panels dramatically decrease carbon emissions by converting stored solar energy to electricity. This allows the driver to utilize the tractor’s auxiliary accessories without having to idle it. Does it eliminate idling altogether? No. However, the reduction in idle time through renewable solar energy reduces emissions and overall dependence on fossil fuels.

Solar Energy Cost Savings

As mentioned above, the integration of solar panels brings notable cost savings to trucking companies in two primary areas: fuel consumption and maintenance. Traditionally, the electric APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) in the tractor was charged and recharged by idling the tractor, which burns fuel. The APU now draws from the solar energy reserve to ensure you have your heater, lights, and other auxiliary items without ever having to turn the key past accessory.

2023 Volvo VNL APU in Side Storage Box
2023 Volvo VNL Side Box & APU System

Moreover, maintenance costs incurred by the repeated and extended idling of the tractor are generally reduced. Yes, internal combustion diesel engines run much cooler than gasoline, but they still get hot when idling at standstill and put additional stress on powertrain components.

Stored Energy Longevity

Prior to this technology, the tractor’s several batteries and APU were charged solely by the truck engine’s alternator while running. When the stored power started waning, it meant it was time to turn the truck on. Now, think of these solar panels as another tier to the tractor energy collection and storage hierarchy. First, alternator to batteries. Second, batteries to APU. Third, stored solar energy to APU.

2023 Volvo VNL Battery Box
2023 Volvo VNL Battery Box

Once the first two tiers run low, the panels and the use of stored solar power kicks in. Thus, greatly increasing time between APU charges via driving or idling. This technology offers the driver a third level of protection and increased peace of mind that his or her auxiliary power bank won’t deplete as fast during a break or reset

Solar Energy Independence

Volvo tractors equipped with solar panels provide trucking companies with a degree of energy independence. In a state with strict emissions laws, but need your auxiliary power? Solar energy. Doing a reset and the truck won’t be started or hit the road for awhile? Solar energy. Really cold, but sunny? The stored solar energy might just get that tractor to turn over and start rumbling. This self-sufficiency and ability to harness solar power greatly increases operational flexibility. The implementation of this technology is just one of the many ways we keep our regional drivers’ equipment and comfort in the forefront.

2023 Volvo VNL Power System
2023 Volvo VNL Air Conditioning Unit

Enhanced Sustainability Efforts

Adopting solar powered technology in our tractors showcases a our commitment to environmental sustainability. Moreover, by integrating smaller, renewable energy resources into daily operations, businesses contribute to a cleaner and greener planet without disruption. This eco-friendly approach is extremely beneficial to both, the environment and our drivers. In brief, the choice to trial and potentially move to solar panel enhanced tractors was a no-brainer. 


While just one piece of the larger puzzle, these Volvo tractors equipped with solar panels represent a step toward sustainable transportation. By simply harnessing the power of the sun, these vehicles offer a cleaner and more cost-effective means of operation than traditional tractors. With reduced environmental impact, cost savings, energy longevity, energy independence, and enhanced sustainability efforts, Volvo is driving us toward a future where clean energy powers our commercial transportation. We’re happy to be apart of it.

Additionally, embracing all forms of electric and solar-powered tractors showcases our continued commitment to a greener future.