GRESHAM, Ore. – The Gresham Fire Department has begun using the sun’s energy to power some of its vehicles.
Solar panels were installed on top of an ambulance and two other emergency response vehicles to help power all the computers, lights and radios.
Each kit cost the department $450, which is about the same cost as a new battery. Before the panels were installed, the vehicles’ batteries had to be replaced often because they drained quickly. The new panels should last about 20 years each.
“That will save us thousands of dollars a year by not burning fuel because we can sit on scenes for 45 minutes to an hour,” explained Battalion Chief Eric Lofgren. “You burn 20 gallons of fuel right there, just sitting there.”
He said that has added up to a savings of $1,000 a year for each vehicle.
KGW reporter Keely Chalmers contributed to this report.