Solar panels for buses | Should buses use Solar Panels?

Solar panels for buses | Should buses use Solar Panels?

26 October 2021 at Waaree

Buses are one of the most common and efficient means of public transportations in many countries. Buses are a convenient and cheap mode of travel in a country like India.

Both lower-class and middle-class employees, students, and workers prefer using the bus as a daily commute.

Buses have an advantage over other modes of transportations like private vehicles. Since buses carry more people at a time than cars or motorcycles, they help in reducing pollution by reducing the number of personal vehicles on the roads. Also, if calculated, the expense of traveling through a bus is lesser than traveling through a personal vehicle.

However, most buses run on diesel or petrol, which are non-renewable resources and emit harmful gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Since many people use buses, it is important to find a way to reduce buses' pollution percentage yet not affect their working efficiency. One such way is using solar buses.

Solar buses and their benefits

The first solar bus was made in 1994 in the US, but it started working in 2011. The solar bus is an old invention but is the need of the hour. It is just like a normal bus but has solar panels on its roof.

These solar panels have photovoltaic cells that generate electric energy through the sun's rays, and the engine uses this electric energy to move the solar bus. Many countries worldwide have adopted solar buses as a substitute for traditional fuel-based buses to reduce pollution and the usage of non-renewable resources.

If we take a rough estimate, a traditional bus needs around 28 thousand liters of petrol each year, and the annual cost of petrol usage would be around 28 lakhs. However, if we use solar buses, we can save this petrol and amount, and use it for other purposes.

Solar buses help reduce the pollution percentage, but they also save non-renewable resources for a better future. With these two major benefits, it is understandable that solar buses bring us one step closer to a brighter future.

Read more: How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?

Solar buses in various countries

Many countries have already invested in solar buses, whereas others are planning to invest in them. Here is a small study regarding what measures and initiatives different countries have taken regarding solar buses:

  • Solar buses in Australia
  • Adelaide, Australia, has an experimental bus named Tindo solar battery-charged bus. This bus started operating in 2007 and continues working till now. It works only on solar energy, has proper air conditioning systems, and can carry a group of 40 people at one time.

  • Solar buses in China
  • China has always invested a large amount of money into environment-friendly steps. In Qiqihar, the first solar hybrid buses started operating in July 2012. The engine has lithium-ion batteries that get energy through the solar panels on the rooftop of the bus. The bus can carry up to 100 people and consumes 0.6 - 0.7 kilowatt-hours per kilometer.

  • Solar buses in Europe
  • Austria started using solar buses in Autumn 2011 in Perchtoldsdorf. The buses had specific designs to use on regular routes. At the University of Glamorgan, the students use solar buses to carry them to different campuses.

  • Solar buses in the UK
  • The UK had its first solar bus in April 2017 in Brighton. The Viper IT Solutions named the bus Om Shanti. This solar bus has 120 solar panels that can generate 30 thousand kilowatt-hours per year without emitting harmful gases. This project won a place with the regional winners, winning the hearts of the local people.

    Have you read: How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

  • Solar buses in Uganda
  • Uganda has a solar bus named the Kayoola solar bus. It can carry 35 people at a time and can travel 80 kilometers. The battery charges through the help of the solar panels installed on its rooftop.

  • Solar buses in the United States
  • The US holds the status of inventing the first solar bus in 1994 with a capacity of 14 people, and its name is the Solar Buzz. The Solar Buzz has no tailpipe, 2 kilowatts of homemade solar panels on the rooftop, two electric motors, and 40 golf cart batteries. It requires only 700 Wh to travel a distance of one mile. It got its approval in 2015.

  • Solar buses in India
  • India has always actively participated in events and activities that help in saving the environment. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) launched a program in March 2020 with Professor Chetan Singh Solanki, named Energy Swaraj - An Essence of Sustainability. They traveled to 25 cities to increase awareness about the benefits of solar buses.

    Many state governments have started thinking about investing in solar buses for their respective states. A group of students of Lovely Professional University created a driverless solar bus because of the increasing pollution in the country. If all the governments invest in such buses, we can reduce the overall pollution of the country.

Other uses of solar panels

A solar bus carries around people with the help of solar energy. However, that is not the only thing a solar bus does. With the help of solar panels, it also provides facilities like heating during the winter season and cooling during the summer season. Also, some solar buses have the facilities of charging through USB ports and sockets, free Wi-Fi throughout the journey, and entertainment systems like TVs with the help of solar panels.

Solar panels for solar buses

We cannot use normal solar panels for solar buses. The solar panels for such buses should be lightweight, flexible, and ultra-thin to keep the bus's roof safe. If the panels are heavy, they may break through the rooftop and cause harm to the passengers.

Visit Waaree Energies to get the best solar panel price throughout the country at the most economical rates.

We are one of India's leading solar panel manufacturers and have enough experience to customize the solar panel for the solar bus effectively. You can contact us at 1800-2121-321 or email us at

You can also read: Is it true that the life of Solar Panel is 25 years?