A new sustainable freight initiative to transport solar photovoltaics (PV) products using solar-powered Volvo VNR Electric trucks was announced at ActExpo 2021. Partners include Volvo Trucks North America, logistics company Dependable Highway Express (DHE), SunPower Corp. and Kuehne+Nagel.
DHE’s zero-emission, battery-electric Class 8 trucks will run warehouse distribution routes for SunPower from DHE’s facility in Ontario, California, where they are recharged daily by 100% renewable electricity generated by on-site solar panels.
“We continue to applaud our long-time customer, DHE, for its leadership in integrating zero-emission trucks and equipment into its operations, including its growing fleet of Volvo VNR Electrics,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “This sustainable supply chain collaboration with SunPower builds on the electromobility lessons learned through the Volvo LIGHTS project and demonstrates the growing market demand for carriers that operate battery-electric trucks, driven by shippers looking to decarbonize their supply chain.”
In the fall of 2020, DHE became one of the first fleet operators in North America to deploy Volvo VNR Electric trucks, which have been integrated into its daily freight transport routes throughout Southern California. This summer, DHE deployed three additional Volvo VNR Electrics and made plans to take delivery of an additional 10 Volvo VNR Electric box trucks in 2022.
“As customer demands for environmentally responsible solutions continue to increase, DHE is proud to partner with Volvo Trucks to lead the way in demonstrating that battery-electric trucks are a viable solution for regional freight movement,” said Joe Finney, chief operating officer at DHE. “Our commitment to bolstering the use of renewable energy dates back more than a decade to when DHE placed solar panels on its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles and created what was then the world’s largest solar grid on an industrial high-rise building. Being able to support SunPower in reliably transporting its products by utilizing solar-charged Volvo VNR Electric trucks is a rewarding way to build on DHE’s sustainability commitments.”
To continue to generate renewable energy and mitigate costs, DHE installed more than 2,300 solar panels on the roof of its Ontario facility and employee parking canopies in 2020. DHE says the solar panels will generate 1.291 GWh of renewable electricity — more than enough to power its building, the Volvo VNR Electric fleet, employee electric vehicle chargers, and battery-electric freight equipment. DHE operates as a carrier in SunPower’s supply chain to deliver its solar PV products.
SunPower, a leading solar technology and energy services provider, ships its products to various locations from Southern California. Adopting electric trucks enables SunPower to minimize the carbon debt of transporting products.
“As a renewable energy company committed to doing the right thing, we have to consider the impact of our entire supply chain,” said Brian Campbell, vice president of supply chain at SunPower. “In the face of today’s climate emergency, there is a collective responsibility to act now to lower carbon emissions and integrate sustainable transportation for solar and storage. We now help reduce dependence on fossil fuels from the moment our product leaves the warehouse.”
The collaboration between DHE and SunPower is managed by Kuehne+Nagel, the company that oversees transportation and logistics for SunPower’s products. SunPower and Kuehne+Nagel have also partnered on reducing transport trips by condensing shipments into fewer trucks and reducing total trip mileage by utilizing alternative distribution hubs.
“Logistics is responsible for approximately 7% of global emissions and Kuehne+Nagel understands our responsibility to counteract climate change,” said Bill Kascel, senior vice president, sustainability solutions at Kuehne+Nagel. “With Net Zero Carbon, we have the solutions to address all logistics emissions by 2030. It’s a shared social responsibility between customers, suppliers and us.”
Transitioning its delivery supply chain to electric, SunPower plans to use additional Volvo VNR Electrics to transport solar PV products directly to its customers’ homes and businesses throughout Southern California. TEC Equipment Fontana, the first Volvo EV certified dealer in North America, will provide maintenance and repairs for SunPower’s VNR Electric trucks through the Volvo Gold Contract service offering.
Volvo LIGHTS is part of California Climate Investments, statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade dollars to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support the economy, public health and the environment especially in disadvantaged communities.