Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s solar-powered engine

A SOLAR-powered fire engine is being trialled by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

GFRS is believed to be among the first fire and rescue services in the country to undertake this type of trial on a fire engine.

It began in September and will last for 12 months.

It will be judged using a system to check its solar energy production and fuel savings, as well as operational benefits such as increased battery life and performance.

It works in conjunction with the vehicle to provide a cleaner, greener source of energy during daylight hours, with the aim of providing:

• Longer battery and alternator life

• Improved fuel efficiency

• Reduced electricity use from the grid

The solar panel has been installed on top of one of the fire engines based at Gloucester North Station and if the trial is successful it could be expanded to include more vehicles in the GFRS fleet.

In the longer-term it will help the transition to electric vehicles and provide GFRS with greener vehicles.

It comes after Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet agreed in June 2021 to invest £3.7 million over the next three years to acquire up to 12 new fire engines which are more environmentally-friendly, as its fleet needs updating.

The new fire engines use greener technology than the older fleet, so the amount of emissions they produce is reduced.

Chief Fire Officer Mark Preece said: “We’re committed to supporting the county in its efforts to tackle climate change and using solar energy is a simple step we can take to make our fleet more environmentally-friendly.

“It will be closely monitored and if the trial goes well we can consider expanding it further across the fleet.”

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member with responsibility for the fire and rescue service, said: “Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is to be applauded for taking this step to help reduce its carbon footprint and I hope the trial proves to be successful.

“We all need to play a part in tackling climate change and it’s great to see that GFRS is leading by example.”

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