solar panels for food trucks

How To Buy Solar Panels For Food Trucks in 2024?

Years ago, when solar panels were gaining popularity, it might have seemed unrealistic to think that we could operate our food truck solely on solar power. But, technological advancements have made it possible to run our food truck on solar energy. Solar panels for food trucks are easily available in the market.

As we all know, being as sustainable as possible benefits both customers and businesses. So, solar panel installation is the most innovative approach to making the engine of your food truck more eco-friendly.

Food trucks usually include a power cable that attaches to power lines from the grid to keep the electronic systems used for food storage, preparation, and cooking operational.

solar powered food trucks

When there is no access to utility lines, generators are needed for the power supply. Those generators typically run on fossil fuels. In this case, I suggest you use the sun’s solar power to reduce your utility bills and other charges.

Solar panels transform solar energy into electrical energy, which can be used to power devices. Many solar panel systems have included a backup battery to continue receiving electricity even when the sun isn’t shining.

It is beneficial for those who want to reduce their electricity consumption. I suggest installing a solar panel on the food truck’s rooftop, where it can absorb direct sunlight and transform it into electrical energy that can be used to power the vehicle.

Before purchasing solar panels for your food truck, there are a few things to consider. To start, you must determine how much electricity you must produce. Your truck’s size and the kinds of appliances you use will determine this. You must also consider how much sunlight is received at your location during the day.

In this article, I’ll provide you with in-depth knowledge regarding the use of solar panels for food trucks.

Factors to consider before using solar panels for food trucks-

The Equipment You Use: Different appliances need different energy levels depending on your food truck.

So, you’re getting ready to start a coffee truck. In that case, you need to get some equipment, such as an espresso machine, an espresso coffee grinder, a gourmet Airpot coffee brewer, a commercial blender, and a refrigerator. But do you know if even big appliances like refrigerator work on solar or not?

food truck equipment

Furthermore, a fryer, grill, and burner—three essential cafeteria items—can cook almost anything if you aim to serve food rather than simply some hot beverages.

As you can see, your energy needs will vary greatly depending on the equipment you will need. Because of this, the first thing everyone should do before determining whether or not they should equip their food truck with solar power is to calculate how many kilowatt-hours of electricity they now use.

The Location: When I speak with small business owners who wish to equip their food trucks with solar power, this is one of the top mistakes I have discovered. They need to consider where their food truck is parked every day.

Considering where your food truck is located is the most crucial factor when determining whether or not to go solar. Suppose your truck location needs more sunlight throughout the day. In that case, you’ll not get enough solar power which can cause power stoppage. So, choose the location for your truck accordingly.

Budget: As we know, solar panels require a high investment, so before opting for solar panels, you should always consider your budget. Your budget will also influence the type of solar panels you purchase, which could seriously impact the overall internal rate of return.

Backup Equipment: You should keep a backup portable solar generator even if you park your solar vehicle in a sunny location in case something unexpected happens. You do not want to find yourself trapped in a thunderstorm without electricity, unable to serve your hungry customers because you don’t have a generator.

In every business, but especially for someone working in the service sector, planning for the worst-case scenario is crucial. That’s why I suggest you have a backup generator for future problems.

Reasons to choose a solar panel for your food truck-

There are many reasons for using solar panels on food trucks. In addition to being eco-friendly and cost-effective, solar panels can keep your food truck functioning during a power outage.

By reducing the amount of electricity your food truck consumes, solar panels can enable you to save money on power bills. Since they don’t emit carbon, they also benefit the environment. Solar panels can also keep your food truck running in case of a power outage.

How many solar panels are required to power your food truck?

To determine how many solar panels are required to run a food truck, you need to calculate the truck’s daily power consumption. You can calculate your daily power consumption with the help of the appliances you use.

As you know, most appliances have tags on them that have all the information regarding the appliance. The appliance’s user manual will also mention the voltage, wattage, and current in amperes. However, we can easily calculate the power requirement of our food truck. Here’s what you need to determine the daily energy consumption:

  • Find out the number of watts you need to run your food truck.
  • How many hours do you run your food truck daily?
  • Multiply the number of hours runs every day by the food truck’s wattage.

Let’s find out…

Wattage requirements may vary, but most food trucks use 5000–7000-watt portable solar generators to operate all appliances safely. You also need to consider the number of hours in a day.

Let’s take it to 6 hours per day. That means running a food truck for 6 hours will require (5000 * 6) = 30000 Wh = 30 kWh from the solar system daily in the minimum case.

Now let’s check out how much energy solar panels generate. 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 5000-watt solar generator.

Advantages of using a solar panel for your food truck

Solar panels are an excellent choice if you’re looking for a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution to power your food truck.

There are many benefits to using solar panels for your food truck, in addition to the fact that they are becoming increasingly popular to power your homes and businesses.

  • Cost-effective: Solar panels are a portable and cost-effective energy source for food truck owners. It generates solar power with the help of the sun, which is freely available to all without any extra charges. It also saves money by lowering your electricity consumption.
  • One-time investment: As we all know, solar panels require a significant initial payment, making them costlier. But, it also becomes an advantage because solar panels do not require high maintenance and extra charges after installation. That’s why it’s called a one-time investment.
  • Eco-friendly: The generation of electricity and the use of generators use a lot of fossil fuels and diesel, which release harmful pollutants into the environment. But the solar power generated by the sun through solar panels does not emit any toxic substances into the atmosphere.
  • Portability: Some solar panels are lightweight and portable, which makes them easy to carry in case the location of your food trucks changes. Some are foldable, so you can fold them and keep them inside your truck when not in use.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you power a food truck with solar panels?

Yes, with the advancements in solar technology in the present time, it is possible to have a food truck that runs almost 100% on solar power.

  • How many watts does a food truck use?

A typical food truck uses about 3,000 watts per day. For instance, if you have a 200-watt solar panel, you will require 15 panels to generate enough power for your food truck (3,000 watts / 200 watts = 15.)

  • How do I install solar panels on a food truck?

It will take some time and effort to install solar panels on your food truck, but it is attainable. Before you install them, you’ll need to understand your power needs and the design of your vehicle and establish a foundation and appliance connectivity.

[Video Credit – BigBattery]



The popularity of eco-friendly food trucks has increased over the past few years.

If you are a food truck owner, investing in solar panels is a great way to reduce your operating costs and be more environmentally friendly. You can use solar panels to operate your truck without releasing toxic pollutants into the environment or spending money on fuel.

There is no reason for food truck owners to deny shifting to solar energy, given the many advantages, which include a lower carbon footprint, fewer operating expenses, and improved awareness of the expanding sustainable living movement.

Check out this detailed guide for all the information you need if you consider installing solar panels on your food truck.

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Ray is an avid reader and writer with over 25 years of experience serving various domestic and multinational private and public energy companies in the USA.

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