How Many Solar Panels To Run A Food Truck?

Posted 11 months ago by Mattias Erlo

Food Truck Powered By Solar

Solar panels can be used to power not only homes, electric fences, and outdoor lighting, but also your food truck. 

The solar panel can be mounted on the roof of the food truck to capture direct sunlight and convert it into usable electricity to power your food truck.

Unlike what most people think, solar panels will still be able to generate electricity even on overcast days, as they can generate electricity from indirect sunlight as well.

So, how many solar panels to run a food truck?

Well, if you are looking for a detailed answer, then you are just in the right place.

In this article, we’ll show you how to calculate the number of panels you need for your food truck, as well as some other considerations to take if you decide to start a food truck.

But, Before we start calculating how many solar panels we need, it’s important to put some considerations in mind:

1. Determine The Equipment You Need

First of all, you need to determine how big your project is, and what equipment you are going to use. 

This step is important to be able to calculate how much power you need to make your new food truck work efficiently.

So, if you are preparing to open a coffee truck you must put in your considerations some equipment like an Espresso machine, Espresso coffee grinder, Gourmet Airpot Coffee Brewer, Commercial Blender, and Refrigerator(s).

Besides, If your plan is cooking food, not just some hot drinks, you can prepare almost anything with three standard concession items: a fryer, griddle, and burners.

Additionally, Coolers, freezers, sandwich prep stations, proofers, steam tables, and other equipment must be chosen. 

Note: Too much electrical equipment will necessitate the usage of a generator large enough to power these devices. 

2. The Kitchen Design

After you have chosen your items carefully, now you have to choose your kitchen design, this step is important because it will affect your truck choice.

If you need a big one to fit your huge amount of equipment or just a small one to fit the espresso machine and some other small equipment.

Designing your kitchen is a crucial phase, and you may require the assistance of a professional to guide you through it and offer the finest supplements to make your kitchen better fit your goods.

Related Article: What Is A Solar Water Heater And How It Works

3. How Much Electric Power Your Food Truck Will Need

To determine how many solar panels you need, first, calculate your food truck’s daily energy consumption.

So, based on the equipment you need and also the design of your kitchen that we discussed in the first two sections, you must be able to calculate your daily energy consumption.

Most appliance values can always be found on the appliance stamp or tag nameplate. 

Besides, The starting and running wattage, voltage, and current in amps will also be listed in the appliance user manual. 

So, you can easily figure out the power your food truck needs.

Here is what you need to calculate the daily power consumption:

  1. Determine the wattage of your food truck
  2. Determine how many hours you use your food truck each day
  3. Multiply the number of daily run hours by the food truck wattage

Let’s figure it out together.

Wattage requirements will vary, but many food trucks use a 5000-7000 watt portable generator to safely power all of their appliances.

The duration of time you intend to operate the truck per day is another factor to consider. 

If you just want to operate the food unit for four hours per day, you won’t need nearly as much capacity as if you plan to serve at all-day events.

In our example, we are going to use a normal 6 hours per day.

That means running a food truck for 6 hours will need (5000 × 6) = 30000Wh = 30kWh from the solar system, each day in the minimum case.

Related Article: How Much Voltage Can A Solar Panel Produce?

4. Calculate The Solar Panel Daily Energy Generation 

The simplest and quickest way to calculate this is to divide the wattage of your solar panels by the number of hours of direct sunlight you receive each day.

Assuming you live in California, where you get 5.82 peak sun hours, then to generate 30000Wh, we need about 5154-watt solar panels (30000/5.82).

So to power your food truck on solar energy, you need twenty-five 200-watt solar panels or a 5000W solar generator.

Why It’s Important To Install Solar Panels To Your Food Truck?

Even while the primary motivation for most of these trucks to go green was to be more environmentally aware, converting to solar energy also saves them money – up to $1,000 per month. 

Generators, which are often gas-powered, are required to supply heat, cold, and light for the food truck, which is typically open for at least 10 hours per day. 

Besides, The cost of gas for the generators is a significant and inevitable monthly expense. 

Instead, Solar panels on the vehicle’s roof are a one-time expenditure, and truck owners can even profit by selling excess energy to solar firms.

Related Article: Why Is Renewable Energy Important?

Last Words

Over the last decade, these environmentally friendly food trucks have become increasingly popular. 

There’s no reason for food truck operators to ignore the benefits of solar power, which include reduced carbon emissions, and lower running costs.

We hope you have clarified everything to you in our article.

If you still have any questions, please share them with us in the comment section below.

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Mattias Erlo