Green Light for Solar Powered Ambulances

Only ring 999 in an emergency.
Only ring 999 in an emergency.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has been awarded a grant from the Department for Transport Clean Vehicle Technology Fund to install solar panels on emergency vehicles across the region.

The Trust was awarded £166,000 to fit the equipment on 175 of its rapid response vehicles as part of a Government initiative to reduce the impact of exhaust fumes on the environment.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service will be the first in England to use this equipment on its emergency fleet and are looking to roll-out the solar-powered vehicles from November 2014.

RRVs are often strategically located across the region on standby awaiting the next emergency call and currently staff are required to keep the vehicle engine running at all times to power vital electrical systems.

The solar panels will power everything electrical in the vehicle and prevent car batteries from going flat when stationary. It will also and also reduce emissions when RRVs are on ‘standby’ as the engine can be switched off whilst they are waiting for the next call.

Alexis Keech, Environmental and Sustainability Manager for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding. Not only does it allow us to reduce the carbon footprint of our organisation and contribute to the Government’s work to reduce emissions, but will also reduce our fuel costs meaning we can re-invest the savings into frontline services and patient care.”

The Trust operates a diesel fleet and travel over 40 million kilometres a year. The introduction of this new technology means that engines can be switched off when waiting for the next emergency which will reduce CO2 emissions by 720kg per vehicle per year and 17kg of NOx per vehicle per year.