Adelaide, Australia is currently leading the way with solar powered public transport and solar panel installation.
Harnessing solar energy has seen the unleashing of an array of products, ranging from solar panels, solar bulbs, solar blankets for pools, solar bulova watches, among many more. The solar bus is probably not only the latest addition, but it could also be the most profound.
Imagine a time where all cars, buses and public transport in Adelaide was solar powered!
What is a solar bus?
A solar bus is exclusively powered by solar energy. Solar buses not only use the sun’s energy to power electrical equipment, but also for propulsion. They provide a great option for ‘green transport’. These buses are already in use in some parts of the world, we are not talking about a concept that is being developed.
The Australian solar bus is referred to as the “Tindo”, meaning “sun”. It has been operating in Adelaide since 2007. It can be said to be the world’s first solar-powered bus, since it entirely uses the sun’s energy. It can carry up to 40 people, with 25 of them being seated.
The bus has a regenerative braking system, air conditioning and is not equipped with solar panels. Its power source is a photovoltaic system situated at the central bus station at Adelaide.
The Tindo Electric Bus
Let us delve into the world’s number one solar bus. This bus is the most outstanding among other solar buses, since it is entirely powered by solar power. Better still, the service is absolutely free of charge. The bus is part of the free Adelaide Connector Bus service, which is run by the City Council.
There are no solar panels installed at the top of the bus. The vehicle receives electric power from solar panels located at the central bus station in the city. The buses also offer free WiFi for the passengers.
Interestingly, Adelaide residents are very keen on going green as shown by their use of hybrid cars, electric cars, carpool, or biking to work. The Tindo was commissioned by the Council as part of the going green initiative.
It has no combustion engine, thus does not produce any emissions. The regenerative braking system saves 30% on energy consumption. In its first year, the Tindo saved over 14,000 litres of diesel and more than 70,000 kg of carbon emission. The bus has a solar photovoltaic charging system which enables the vehicle to go for even 200 km between recharges.
Solar buses have shown that it is possible to go green and reduce fuel consumption as well as carbon emissions. The Tindo takes the crown, since it uses 100% solar energy. Other solar buses around the world have also been launched, though they are hybrid. Solar buses are an indication of the future in solar powered public transport.
China’s hybrid buses began operating in 2012. The engines are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which are powered by solar panels on the roof of the bus. Each bus consumes 0.6 to 0.7 kilowatt-hours for every kilometre. It can transport up to 100 people. Using solar panels prolongs the ion batteries’ life by 35%.
In Austria and Germany, the solar bus has been on trial operation since 2011. It was developed by Glamorgan University and is powered by solar cells, ultracapacitors, hydrogen fuel, and batteries.
In India, plans are underway to introduce solar buses in Mumbai, Bangalore, and Pune.
Now you have no excuse! If there is solar transport here in Adelaide, do you have solar for your house? Check out the great team at Solar Energy Adelaide for more on how to make your home more sustainable.