Van raises solar awareness in England

solar powered vanSunGift Energy isn’t waiting for people to become interested in solar and come to them, they are bringing solar to the people.

In May 2013 the Exeter- based company started touring in a solar van, a Volkswagen covered in solar panels, around southwest England.

The van was designed to demonstrate how solar systems work and to attract attention at events, said Gary Cook with SunGift in an email interview. The van shows that solar isn’t just for houses and buildings. It demonstrates that solar can be portable and provide renewable energy at any location.

"The van does stand out, and it has certainly made people stop and stare," said Gabriel Wondrausch, managing director of SunGift Energy in a press release. "But behind its crazy looks there is some exceptional technology that demonstrates how we could all live more sustainably, save money, and have significantly less reliance on fossil fuels and energy companies." 
The van is fitted with nine solar PV panels and while it has less surface space than the roofs on most houses, it can still generate up to 20kWh of electricity per day a press release said.

The van was designed to provide power to remote locations, at events or for emergencies when power is lost, Wondrausch said in the release.

The van uses a 2.25 kW TrinaSolar PV system that feeds electricity into the latest energy management technology and battery storage. The van’s 24kW battery holds enough charge to power a small house for up to three days, the release said. That allows staff to still offer demonstrations on cloudy days, or while inside, Cook said.

The van itself runs on diesel. The solar system is built in and used to show people how systems work, Cook said. For those considering buying solar systems, seeing one in action helps them understand how the systems work.

The van travels to events and country shows. At stops, staff usually set up a clothes dryer and a fan to show the van generates power, Cook said.

"It may look just like a fun piece of marketing, but it is a reflection of significant advancements in the market that will see the emergence of SMART battery storage solutions, where households will be able to generate their own solar electricity, store it in their homes, and then a sophisticated system will work out which appliances need it the most,” Wondrausch said in the release.

The van will continue to tour the country stopping at community events.

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