Police Cars Installing Solar to Save Battery Life

Often the immediate benefits of clean tech are more operational than environmental. But the end result is the same.

From the US military's embrace of solar to reduce dangerous fuel convoys, to the low-tech community benefits of bike-based police patrols, we've often seen that a smarter approach to energy can yield real results for military and law enforcement applications.

This latest story is no exception. The Florida Times Union reports that police patrol cars are being outfitted with 5-watt solar panels as a means to save on gas and reduce the need to replace worn out batteries. (It turns out that patrol cars can go through as many as two 12v batteries a year due to the strain of all the electronics they run.)

Here's more on the initiative:

The average police car drains two 12-volt batteries a year due to all of the electronics and lights it has to operate. The solar panels help save gas too, said Assistant Chief John Lamb, in charge of the Sheriff’s Office’s logistics and general support division.

Sadly, the article goes on to say that the program was cancelled due to immediate budgetary restraints, but as gas prices keep rising and solar costs keep dropping, you can expect to see more solar panels appearing on patrol cars around the country. There is, however, one drawback—apparently the panels are also being installed on unmarked police cars too. Something tells me that a shiny solar panel on an otherwise unmarked car may be a giveaway right now in Jacksonville, unless these chargers take off with the general public too...

Police Cars Installing Solar to Save Battery Life
Solar doesn't just reduce emissions, it can save on maintenance costs for law enforecement vehicles. After all, something's got to keep those radios running.

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