A groundbreaking venture using solar panels to power ambulance equipment has been launched by Peterborough County-City paramedics. Its goal is to reduce both energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and it boasts the possibility of reducing gas emissions by up to a quarter.
“This project is the first of its kind in Canada,” said County Warden Joe Taylor at the launch of the project August 21 in Peterborough.
Each of the service’s 20 vehicles will have a pair of $1,500 solar panels mounted on the ambulance roof. The panels will be able to power the systems in the ambulance and can turn the ambulance on and off depending on a number of factors such as the temperature inside the vehicle.
For example, if an ambulance is idling outside a hospital or a patient’s house, this system will shut the rig off to save power and reduce emission, and then turn it back on when power is needed to run systems on the ambulance.
“Not only are you saving lives, but you’re also making a big difference in playing your part to save our environment,” said David Crombie, manager of the project for North America at the launch August 21.
Data from the solar ambulance will be compared with that of a standard one to see how effective fleet-wide solar usage would be. Proponents say this type of technology has great potential.
“I’m sure you’re going to see this project lead the way right across the country, and we’ll see not only emergency services but many commercial vehicles using it to benefit them, cut down their costs, and at the same time, help the environment,” Taylor said.