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Solar Energy and Transportation: Solgen Power

By: Eric Huesca, SEO Content Writer
July 20, 2023

Imagine a world where your vehicle is powered by the most abundant, most consistent source of energy known to humanity – the sun. This concept is no longer merely a vision of an idealistic future, but a rapidly evolving reality. The relationship between solar energy and transportation is an emerging field that promises to revolutionize how we move. As global societies strive to curb carbon emissions and battle climate change, solar energy is fast becoming a key player in the transportation sector. 

Solar Panels charging batteries aboard sail boat.

Understanding Solar Energy

Solar energy is a renewable source of power harnessed from the sun’s rays. Photovoltaic (PV) cells, usually made of silicon, capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. This process is clean, silent, and emits no greenhouse gases, making solar energy one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources available. 

The sun provides a limitless, consistently replenishing source of energy. As technology advances, our ability to harness this energy improves, leading to increased efficiency and reduced costs. Recent years have seen significant progress in PV cell technology, battery storage, and energy management systems, paving the way for greater adoption of solar power in various sectors, including transportation proving why alternative energy source are important. 

Solar Energy in Land Transportation

Land transportation contributes a significant percentage to global greenhouse gas emissions. As such, the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources in this sector is of utmost importance. Solar energy, with its sustainable and clean characteristics, has started to make a significant impact. 

Solar-powered cars are perhaps the most recognized application of solar energy in land transportation. These vehicles use PV cells to convert sunlight into electricity, powering an electric motor. While fully solar-powered cars are still in their developmental stages, solar-assisted electric vehicles (EVs) are already on the roads. These vehicles integrate solar panels into their design, helping to power onboard systems and recharge batteries, thus extending the vehicle’s range. 

On a larger scale, solar-powered buses and trains are gaining traction. Solar buses leverage rooftop solar panels to supplement their power needs, reducing fuel consumption and emissions. In rail transport, solar energy can power station facilities, signals, and even trains. Notable examples include India’s solar-powered DEMU train and the UK’s Solar Rail project. 

The potential of solar energy in land transportation extends beyond vehicles. For instance, solar-powered charging stations for EVs are on the rise. Solar roadways, an innovative concept that replaces traditional asphalt with rugged solar panels, could generate electricity while providing a durable driving surface. While these technologies are still in their early stages, they represent exciting possibilities for the integration of solar energy in our transportation infrastructure. 

Solar Energy in Water Transportation

Solar energy is not only making waves on land but also in water transportation. Solar-powered boats are becoming more common, particularly for recreational and small-scale commercial uses. Solar ferries and tour boats are in operation around the world, providing quiet, emission-free travel. Large-scale commercial ships with solar assistance are also in development, showcasing the potential for solar energy in the maritime industry. 

Additionally, port operations can benefit from solar energy. Ports, with their expansive open areas, provide an excellent opportunity for solar installations. The generated power can be used for port operations, to charge electric vehicles, or fed back into the grid. This not only reduces the carbon footprint of the ports but also makes them more resilient and independent of grid electricity. 

Solar Energy in Air Transportation

The adoption of solar energy in air transportation is still in its nascent stages, but the prospects are exciting. Solar Impulse 2, a Swiss long-range experimental solar-powered aircraft, successfully completed a round-the-world flight in 2016, demonstrating the potential of solar aviation. While commercial solar planes may still be far on the horizon, this feat has undoubtedly sparked interest and innovation in the field. 

On the ground, solar energy is already having a substantial impact on airport operations. Airports have large areas available for solar installations, such as unused land and rooftops. Across the globe, airports are installing solar farms to power their operations, reduce carbon emissions, and decrease reliance on grid electricity. 

Solar Energy in Military Transportation

The incorporation of solar energy in military transportation is a relatively new, yet rapidly developing field. This initiative not only aligns with global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also provides the military with various strategic and operational advantages. 

Solar power can be utilized in numerous ways within military transportation. One of the most direct applications is in the powering of electric vehicles (EVs). Military EVs, like their civilian counterparts, can benefit significantly from being charged by solar energy. By installing solar panels at military bases or even on the vehicles themselves, the armed forces can ensure a consistent, renewable power source that is not dependent on the grid, thereby enhancing their energy security. Moreover, using solar power reduces fuel transportation costs and logistics, a critical consideration in combat zones. 

Apart from ground vehicles, solar power has also been harnessed for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Solar-powered drones can remain airborne for extended periods, providing surveillance, communication, and logistic support without the need for frequent refueling. 

Solar power can also play a role in the charging infrastructure for military equipment. Portable solar chargers can power various devices, from communications equipment to GPS systems. This use of solar energy is particularly useful in remote or off-grid locations where traditional power sources are not readily available. 

However, it’s important to note that the transition to solar-powered military transportation is not without challenges. The reliability of solar energy depends on weather conditions and daylight hours, making it less predictable than traditional energy sources. Additionally, the initial cost of installing solar systems can be high, though it’s likely to pay off in the long run due to lower operational costs. 

Economic Side of Solar Helping with Transportation

The intersection of solar power and transportation is quickly becoming an exciting frontier in the movement towards a more sustainable future. The economic implications of this fusion of technologies are vast, not just in terms of direct cost savings, but also in relation to job creation, innovation, and infrastructure development. 

Solar power’s most direct impact on transportation comes in the form of electric vehicles (EVs), many of which can be powered by electricity generated from solar panels. By charging EVs with solar power, vehicle owners can essentially fuel their vehicles for free once the solar installation has paid for itself. This can lead to significant long-term savings compared to the ongoing costs of gasoline or diesel fuel. Additionally, the upfront cost of solar panels continues to decrease due to technological advancements and economies of scale, making the investment in solar energy even more economically feasible. 

Solar power can also contribute to the development of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Public charging stations equipped with solar panels not only offer a sustainable source of power for EVs but can also provide additional revenue streams. Excess solar power generated at these stations can be sold back to the grid, offering further economic benefits. 

The solar transportation sector also promises substantial job creation. Manufacturing, installing, and maintaining solar-powered charging stations can create numerous jobs, leading to economic growth. Moreover, as the industry expands, there will likely be an increased demand for research and development into more efficient solar technologies, further driving innovation and job creation in the sector. 

Challenges and Future Prospects

The journey towards solar energy has been an illuminating testament to human innovation and resilience. Despite the challenges along the way, the progress made so far is commendable. With every leap in efficiency, every drop in cost, and every square meter of solar panel installed, we move a step closer towards a sustainable future. 

As we stand at this juncture, it is evident that the solar revolution is not a distant dream but a tangible reality. The sun, our ancient and enduring source of life, has the potential to power our future, transforming the way we live and interact with our environment. 

Solar energy is not just about energy; it’s about empowerment. It’s about communities having control over their power sources, economies becoming self-reliant, and countries paving the way towards a sustainable future. It’s about transforming our relationship with energy and, in the process, with our planet. 

While the journey is far from over, the progress we’ve made on the path to solar energy is undeniable. With continued research, investment, and global cooperation, there’s no doubt that the sun will continue to rise on the solar industry. The age of solar is not just coming—it’s already here. 


The nexus between solar energy and transportation represents a revolution in the making. As technology advances, the sun’s power will increasingly fuel our journeys, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, curbing carbon emissions, and promoting a more sustainable world. While the journey to fully solar-powered transportation is ongoing, every solar-assisted vehicle on our roads, every solar panel on our buildings, and every solar farm in our airports takes us one step closer to this brighter, cleaner future. Harnessing the power of the sun for transportation is no longer a distant dream, but a rapidly approaching reality. 

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Solgen Power is a solar energy contractor that sells and installs solar for homeowners. Solgen Power has been recognized by INC. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in the nation. Solgen Power has grown nationwide and continues to provide excellent customer service to homeowners.

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