McBurney Transport Group is fitting 146 new refrigerated trailers with solar panels from Genie Insights, following a one-year trial which tested the panels in all weather conditions.


The 50-watt panels have been fitted to the roof of each trailer with the aim of keeping their fridge batteries charged to prevent battery-related breakdowns and costs.

McBurney Transport Group’s decision to fit solar panels was supported by data gleaned from its asset management system from Freeway Fleet Systems, which was supplied and implemented by Genie Insights in 2018. The system manages all of McBurney Group’s fleet maintenance, scheduling and analysis. Using three years of data from the Freeway system, the company was able to calculate its fridge battery related costs and calculate the potential benefits of using solar power.

The company began by fitting a solar panel fitted to one of its trailers in 2021, running it in the fleet for 12 months as a trial, including over the winter period to ensure that the panels could perform all year round. The test trailer operated all over the UK and Ireland including the most remote northerly regions of the country with the worst weather conditions and shortest daylight hours. During the trial, multiple downloads were taken from the solar panel’s charge controller at key points throughout the year, which gave visibility of the battery’s state of charge.

This data enabled McBurney Group to confirm that whilst there was a draw being taken from the battery when the fridge was not running, the solar panel was putting enough charge back in to counteract this consumption.

The company said that this data, coupled with the fact that there were no fridge battery-related costs recorded during the same period, proved the success of the trial.

Following the successful trial, the company is now in the process of fitting the new trailers with Genie Insights’ solar panel kits.

Because the solar panel prevents the battery from draining completely and having to be jump started, it also prolongs the life of the battery.

McBurney Group said that not only will it see a cost saving from reduced breakdowns, it will also save on premature battery replacements.

Sammy Hamill, McBurney Transport Group fleet transport manager, said: “This is just another example of how we have worked closely with Genie Insights to improve the performance of our fleet and uptime for our customers, which is ultimately what we are always striving towards as a business.

“We also like to be at the forefront of trialling new technologies, and we were surprised to see how such a simple and cost-effective solution could provide the answer to the battery related issues we know are becoming increasingly common in the refrigerated transport industry.”