A reefer trailer is an insulated box with a refrigerated unit attached for the transport of temperature-controlled goods.
TRU stands for transport refrigeration unit. This is just another term for a fridge that is mounted to a trailer or vehicle body.
There could be several things that are causing your fridge battery to be drained prematurely:
- Fridge Controllers
- Fuel Level Sensors
- Interior Trailer Lighting
- Telematics/Tracking Systems
These are otherwise known as ‘Parasitic Draws’.
If a refrigerated trailer is sat idle for extended periods, these parasitic draws can slowly drain the battery. This could cause the battery to enter deep cycle. Your fridge battery will require a jump start which will reduce its life span over time.
While solar panels on commercial vehicles have been shown to deliver significant fuel savings, this is a bonus rather than the primary reason for installing them. Genie Insights believes the greatest benefits come from improvements in battery performance and reliability. Solar panels keep batteries charged which reduces battery degradation to improve battery health and longevity.
By ensuring that the battery is continually trickle charged, the length of time the fridge alternator needs to run is reduced. This will result in reduced fuel consumption.
Our solar panels can be fitted to any trailer with a fridge unit. We have developed an extensive dealer network across the whole of the UK and Ireland.
Our panels can be fitted for use with any make or model of fridge unit including:
Carrier: Vector | Vector HE 19 | Vector eCool
Thermoking: Advancer | SLX | SLXi | SLXe
We also work with all of the main trailer manufacturers, so our panels can be installed to your reefer trailer while ensuring your trailer and fridge manufacturer warranties are not affected.
Both the trailer and fridge manufacturers are highly supportive of our solar panels being used to enhance their products.
Our solar panel for commercial vehicles uses CIGS technology (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide). CIGS contains no glass, silicone, or solder in its construction so is flexible, shatterproof, resistant to vibrations/impact/fracture. Our panels are also only 3mm thick so they do not protrude from the roof of the trailer. For these reasons it is well suited to commercial vehicle (mobile) applications.
All connections are secured with a Robust MC4 junction box and a 40kg twist strength connection. This minimises the risk of damage from truck washes and overhanging branches etc.
A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell, is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity. Most solar panels only contain three bypass diodes which significantly limits performance in shaded or cloudy conditions (if one cell is shaded, total power reduces by one-third). At Genie Insights, we incorporate bypass diodes into every other cell meaning if a pair of cells is shaded, the current is able to move to the next cell, so the only performance loss is from the shaded cells.
This means our panel will work efficiently in the harshest conditions (365 days per year) including low light, shading from buildings, cloudy days and if partially damaged or covered (e.g. by snow or bird droppings).
What are the benefits of CIGS technology over other photovoltaic solutions for transport applications?
Our photovoltaic solution for commercial vehicles use a modern CIGS technology (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide). This technology has many benefits over other photovoltaic options on the market:
- By using CIGS, a compound semiconductor, thin-film modules absorb light up to 100 times more effectively than conventional materials such as silicon. (Source).
- CIGS will start producing energy earlier in the morning and continue for longer in the evening therefore allowing for a longer charge period than its monocrystalline equivalent.
- Most solar panels only contain three bypass diodes which significantly limits performance in shaded or cloudy conditions (if one cell is shaded, total power reduces by one-third). At Genie Insights, we incorporate bypass diodes into every other cell meaning if a pair of cells is shaded, the current is able to move to the next cell, so the only performance loss is from the shaded cells. This means our panel will work efficiently in the harshest conditions (365 days per year) including low light, shading from buildings, cloudy days and if partially damaged or covered (e.g. by snow or bird droppings). If a CIGS panel gets partially damaged it will continue to perform but with a reduced performance, rather than failing completely. Check out this video showing just a 10% power loss after being penetrated 5 times with a .22 rifle.
- CIGS is a highly resource and energy efficient technology so has a lower environmental impact on a lifecycle basis than power generated from traditional solar technologies. Once installed, power production using CIGS creates zero greenhouse gases.
- Unlike a monocrystalline panel, a CIGS panel does not generate heat. Because of the heat generation, a monocrystalline solution cannot produce power as efficiently as a CIGS panel and in a worst-case scenario could present a fire risk. In a temperature-controlled vehicle, in particular, avoiding additional heat is preferable.
- A CIGS panel is flexible and more robust than traditional alternatives due to the glass and solder free construction. This enables the panel to be fitted easily to curved roofs as it does not require a frame to house the panel.
- CIGS panels are just 3mm thick and extremely lightweight so there is no effect on payload or loss of MPG due to drag and the relative thinness means CIGS panels are arguably more aesthetically pleasing. Traditional glass-based panels, on the other hand, do not sit flush with the vehicle body.
- A CIGS panel does not require any mechanical fixings or mounting frames and no punctures are required to apply them. This eliminates the chance of water ingress and protects the manufacturer’s warranty if fitting to a composite roof, for example. Installation costs are also minimised as a result.
A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell, is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity.
The Imp is the current (amps) when the power output is the greatest.
Voltage at maximum power is the voltage that occurs when the module is connected and operating at its peak performance output.
The Pmax is the maximum wattage (Vmp x Imp = Pmax)
Short circuit current is how many amps (i.e. current) the solar panels are producing when not connected to a load. This is the highest current the solar panels will produce under standard test conditions.
The Voc is the maximum voltage available from a solar cell. With an open-circuit voltage of >30 Voc, there is a highly efficient conversion of sunlight to energy.The advantage of having a higher voltage, compared to traditional solar solutions, means the panel will be able to start charging earlier in the day and remain charging for longer to keep the voltage above the battery state for longer. For comparison a conventional panel would be around 18-20 Voc on a 110W panel.