South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust’s (SCAS) Rapid Response Vehicle (RRV) fleet is now solar powered after a successful trial period.

Last year, SCAS began installing solar panels on all new RRVs in order to power the secondary battery system that operates all emergency equipment on the vehicles.

The move means that the new solar-powered RRVs no longer need to standby with their engines running in order to recharge the battery system, or have to return to base in order to recharge vehicle battery systems using static shoreline systems that mean that the vehicles are unable to respond to emergencies whilst batteries are being charged.

SCAS green team co-ordinator Brian Miller commented: “South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is taking the initiative to introduce solar panels to its Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) to reduce fuel consumption, fuel and battery replacement costs, the Trust's carbon footprint and the need for RRVs to return to base and traditional shoreline systems to recharge vehicle batteries.”

SCAS notes that the solar-powered RRVs will allow the Trust to be fully mobile at all times in order to provide vital healthcare services across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire.

Following the success of the trust’s initial solar trial, SCAS is now in the process of fitting solar panels to double-crewed front line ambulances.

SCAS is the first ambulance service in England to introduce solar panels on to its Rapid Response Vehicles (RRV).