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Refrigeration news from MATS

June 4, 2016
Both leading manufacturers look to the sky for power boost

Solar panels are proving to be an effective supplemental power source for transport refrigeration power.  Thermo King and Carrier each had solar products among the innovations they touted at MATS this year.

The panels can help power electrical accessories and conserve fuel by reducing the need to run the TRU engine to charge the battery. Refrigeration system batteries are often tapped to power additional trailer electronics such as telematics devices, fuel-level sensors, interior lighting and other accessories. If the TRU has not been operated for some time and these accessories continue to draw power while the unit is off, its battery might not have enough charge to start the engine.


Thermo King promoted its upgraded ThermoLite solar charging portfolio at a MATS press conference.

The panels are flexible and are available with an adhesive back for easy installation without drilling. They are offered in 26-, 36-, and 100-watt ratings and are shipped as a complete system that includes charger and wiring harness.

In addition to its solar portfolio, Thermo King discussed its telematics products, including its TrailerTrak Dry Asset Management Solution, along with its TracKing Temperature & Asset Management System.


Carrier Transicold has expanded its line of Thin Film Flexible Solar Panels designed to help maintain peak performance of transport refrigeration unit (TRU) batteries in a more environmentally sustainable way.

Carrier Transicold now offers 18.5 watt (1.2 amp) and 9.24 watt (0.6 amp) solar panels, in addition to its original 28 watt (1.8 amp) panel, accommodating a wider range of user needs and budgets. The solar panels are designed specifically to maintain TRU battery charge and can be easily installed on the roofs of trailers, truck bodies and refrigerated rail cars.

When exposed to daylight, the solar panels continuously charge TRU batteries, ensuring ample power for system starts and helping to avoid issues and costs associated with a weak or dead battery. Carrier Transicold solar panels are highly flexible and measure less than one-eighth of an inch thick. Designed to withstand the harsh transportation environment, they are waterproof and puncture-resistant and have a five-year limited warranty on power output.

About the Author

Bruce Sauer | Editor

Bruce Sauer has been writing about the truck trailer, truck body and truck equipment industries since joining Trailer/Body Builders as an associate editor in 1974. During his career at Trailer/Body Builders, he has served as the magazine's managing editor and executive editor before being named editor of the magazine in 1999. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.