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Dependable Highway Express transports solar panels using solar-powered electric trucks

Jason Morgan is the editor of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 15 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

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Volvo Trucks North America, Dependable Highway Express (DHE), SunPower Corp. and Kuehne+Nagel announced a new sustainable freight initiative to transport solar photovoltaics (PV) products using solar-powered Volvo VNR Electric trucks. DHE’s zero-emission, battery-electric Class 8 trucks will run warehouse distribution routes for SunPower from its facility in Ontario, Calif., where they are recharged daily by 100% renewable electricity generated by on-site solar panels.

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In the fall of 2020, DHE became one of the first fleet operators in North America to deploy Volvo VNR Electric trucks, which have since been integrated into its daily freight transport routes throughout Southern California. This summer, DHE deployed three additional Volvo VNR Electrics and solidified its plans to take delivery of an additional 10 Volvo VNR Electric box trucks in 2022.

“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,” said Joe Finney, chief operating officer at DHE. “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.”

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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. Annually, 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 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.

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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 an array of other sustainability strategies, including 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. Today’s announcement is a testament to this common mission.”

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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, recently named Volvo Trucks’ first Volvo EV Certified Dealer in North America, will provide contracted maintenance and repairs for SunPower’s VNR Electric trucks through the premier Volvo Gold Contract service offering.

Volvo LIGHTS is part of California Climate Investments, statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

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