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Clean Power solar power buses

Published on March 7th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Solar Power for Buses

A bus powered with solar energy. That gets my blood moving!

SunPods Inc., a California-based manufacturer of modular, fully integrated and tested solar power generation systems, and Bauer Intelligent Transportation, a leading provider of chauffeured green transportation, recently teamed up to create what they say is the “first solar power-assist system for buses.”

And the system was developed in less than six weeks! And the system was developed in less than six weeks! This is something to rave about and praise! What a green contribution to the planet! Tell your friends and family, colleagues, neighbors, insurance provider, dry-cleaner– tell the world. All cities should have solar-powered buses. Consider what you can do to encourage your city to invest in it!

The SunPods Sun Bus Power System™ “consists of four thin film solar panels that run the length of the bus and charge an on-board battery bank. When the bus engine is off, the batteries power the air-conditioning and wireless connectivity equipment, enabling transportation companies to effectively meet anti-idling standards without compromising passenger comfort.”

“We support the state’s strong commitment to reducing pollution. At the same time, as a transportation provider, we wanted to meet our customers’ requirements for comfort and connectivity,” stated Gary Bauer, founder and owner of Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation. “SunPods was able to make our vision a reality in less than 6 weeks. We’ve been testing the bus for the past 4 weeks and we’re impressed with the reliable performance.”

The push to create this innovative system came from a 2008 California state law. The law prohibits diesel vehicles from idling for more than 5 minutes in order to protect air quality.

The impetus and idea may have come from California, but this is a technology that could be used all around the world. Over 25 states have anti-idling laws. Bus or other transportation companies and organizations in these states could surely benefit from this technology. See a bus in your area without solar panels on top? Give the relevant people a call and let them know about this new technology.

Image Credit: mark silva via flickr under a CC license

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • private health insurance

    I have my serious doubts over the feasibility of these buses. The cost of operating will be more and thus which will be managed by increasing the ticket fares…

    • Bob_Wallace

      Well, the price of solar is dropping pretty quickly. And the price of oil is soaring.

      I can’t find anything on line about how many watts of PV they’ve put on the tops of the buses, but based on the roof size I’m going to guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 1kW.

      Since panel prices are breaking below $1/watt I’m going to guess somewhere around $1k for panels and another $1k for controls, racks, etc. No need for an inverter since the bus is already running on DC.

      Panels, they should last 40, 50 or more years. Even over a 20 year life a $2k system would cost about $0.27/per day.

  • Frank Hanlan

    Sounds like a great plan. What are bus manufacturers and other bus companies doing?

  • Frank Hanlan

    Sounds like a great plan. What are bus manufacturers and other bus companies doing?

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