Sungold logo

What Is a Solar Food Truck?

  1. Home
  2. »
  3. BLOGS
  4. »
  5. Information Articles
  6. »
  7. What Is a Solar Food Truck?

Table of Contents

What is a solar food truck?

As sustainability becomes a dominant trend in many industries, many food truck businesses are turning to investing in renewable energy generators like solar panels. So it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more and more solar-powered food trucks on the road these days.
To build a solar food truck, solar panels are installed on the roof of the truck to absorb direct sunlight. The sunlight is then converted into much-needed electricity to run the appliances and equipment in the food truck.


Can solar panels power a food truck?

Short answer?
Set it up wisely and purchase solar panels with sufficient rated power output – and a properly balance of system to match – and you can meet 100% of your food truck’s electrical needs with solar power. And enjoy all the benefits it brings!
Here’s everything you need to know about running your food truck on clean, renewable solar power.

What should you consider before using solar panels on your food truck?

There are some key factors to consider before deciding to switch to solar power to operate your food truck.
Here are some key points to remember when considering your conversion options and making your off-grid electricity purchase decision.
Your food truck location
You already know where you park your food truck can have a huge impact on your revenue.
There’s a reason they say “location, location, location.”
However, where you park your trucks during operations can also have a significant impact on your ability to generate off-grid power.
Regardless of the system, the actual amount of electricity produced depends largely on the hours of peak sunlight the photovoltaic panels receive.
Estimate how many hours of peak (direct) sunlight your solar panels will receive each day.
Obviously, all you can do is estimate. There will be cloudy and sunny days. Using the average peak sun hours for your location and accounting for any ongoing external factors (such as shading) will help you realistically estimate how much sunlight your panels will receive each day.

How many solar panels do you need to power a food truck?

Food truck electrical load on solar panel background
The first step in determining whether you can power your food truck with solar panels is to determine your power needs. Create a list of all devices consuming power. You first need to determine if your solar panel system can support all of your power needs to operate your truck.
The number of panels you need depends on your unique power requirements, the type, and the wattage rating of the solar panels you install.
Some things you need to know about solar panels.
All solar panels have a power wattage rating – usually between 100W and 400W solar panel. This represents the maximum amount of electricity your photovoltaic panels can produce.
Keep in mind that power rating measures maximum – it is not a guarantee. In fact, your solar panels will rarely reach their rated output wattage because they rarely operate under ideal conditions.
Factors that affect the power generation of solar panels include efficiency, direction and angle, temperature, shadow, etc.
Here’s a simple formula to help you estimate how much power your solar panels will produce:

P (Rated Power in Watts) x H (Peak Sun Hours) = Total Energy Output in Watt Hours

The resulting numbers will help you estimate the number of solar panels you need. Of course, this is an estimate and actual power generation may vary, but it’s a good rule of thumb.

food truck
food truck

Not sure how many hours of peak sunshine you can expect?
Assume you are equipped with a sungold hi-power 400W solar panel, which typically receives 4 hours of peak sunlight per day. You can reasonably estimate that around 1600Wh or 1.6kWh) of electricity will be produced per day.

Plus, unlike Sungold Solar, you can add up to 4 x 400W rigid or portable solar panels to quadruple the power generation capacity.

To estimate how many solar panels you will need to power your food truck, you need to accurately calculate your average electricity consumption.

This means the total running and starting wattage of all the devices and appliances you need to operate at the same time.

Here’s how to do it:
Determine the wattage requirements of your appliance. Investigate the starting and running power requirements of the appliances and equipment you plan to plug into the generator. You can usually find the wattage requirements marked on the appliance, but, to give you a rough idea, we’ve also compiled the starting and running wattages of typical household appliances in the table below.
Convert Volts/Amperes to Watts. If your device’s power requirements are in volts or amps, you can use the following formula to calculate the device’s operating wattage:
Volts (V) x Amperes (A) = Watts (W)

Calculate the operating wattage of an appliance. Add up the operating wattages of the equipment you plan to use – does the total exceed the operating wattage listed on the generator? If so, consider purchasing a generator with a higher output capacity.
Consider factors in starting watt requirements. Identify the device with the highest starting wattage. Add the device’s starting wattage to the running wattage total.
Calculate the sum. The last number is the total starting wattage your generator requires. As mentioned above, to avoid overloading your generator, do not exceed its starting watt rating.


How many solar panels do you need to power a food truck?

The number of solar panels required for a food truck power system depends on the power consumption of the food truck. To calculate the number of solar panels you need, you need to determine the power requirements of your food truck (in watts), and the amount of sunlight the solar panels can collect (in watts/hour).
Power requirements of the food truck:


Espresso Machine1000-2000
Deep Fryer2000-5000

Next, you can start designing the system around your power requirements. Every remote solar panel setup requires 4 main items:
Solar panels
Solar Charge Controller
Before starting your project, you should properly size your battery based on your load. Most batteries will give you an amp-hour rating. This rating is a measure of the amount of energy the battery can store. A 12-volt battery rated for 200 amp hours can theoretically deliver 10 amps at 12 volts for 20 hours. Since the system on our food truck is 120V, we need to convert the power rating through the inverter, taking into account some power losses in the inverter. Assuming an efficiency rating of 80%, our 200 amp hour battery delivers 16 amp hours at 120V. We already know that all of our equipment runs at 8.1 amps, which means we can only run on a 200 amp hour battery for less than two hours.

Additionally, fuel, diesel, or propane generators are known to be large pollutants, and many environmentally conscious food truck owners are now switching to solar power. Portable solar panels and solar generators are excellent off-grid alternative energy sources for food preparation and lighting.

Inquiry about solar food trucks in the United States

Many food truck owners are taking their sustainability initiatives to the next level by investing in solar power for their food trucks. Here is a list of some of the most popular solar food trucks in the United States.

  • Solar Pancake – Arlington, VA

The food truck uses organic and local food from sustainable sources. They even package their food in eco-friendly wrapping paper. Their food truck uses 100-watt solar panels that produce approximately 600 watt-hours of energy per day.

  • Stay Away from the Frying Pan – Portland, OR

This burger joint offers vegetarian and vegan options made with organic and natural ingredients. Their trucks are powered entirely by renewable energy, with excess electricity generated from rooftop solar panels purchased by Portland General Electric.

  • Green Trucks – New York, San Diego, Los Angeles

The food truck serves sustainable, local cuisine, including vegetarian and vegan dishes. It uses solar energy to run the kitchen, feeding excess energy back into the grid.

Advantages of solar food trucks

There are three main advantages to using solar food trucks, which are lower carbon footprint, reduced operating costs, and education and awareness building. Below we discuss these advantages one by one.

  • Reduce carbon footprint

Solar food trucks use solar energy, an abundant renewable energy source around the world. By using solar energy, food trucks reduce their use of non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels that produce harmful greenhouse gases.

  • Reduce operating costs

Solar energy is a free energy source, so food truck owners don’t have to worry about rising electricity prices or fuel costs. By generating electricity during the day, operators can also offset energy drawn from the grid, effectively reducing electricity bills. Additionally, solar panels are known for their long-lasting durability. This means they require minimal maintenance and replacement costs compared to traditional generators.

  • Education and awareness building

Solar-powered food carts can serve as educational tools to raise awareness about the benefits of renewable energy. Therefore, this could encourage more food truck owners to adopt solar energy as a sustainable energy source for their operations.

Final Thoughts

These eco-friendly, solar food trucks have grown in popularity over the past decade, making them a good choice for powering food trucks. However, you must choose one that meets the power requirements of your equipment and is suitable for your food truck. Solar  paenl are a great option for people who want to operate their food truck in a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly environment. There’s no reason for food truck owners to ignore the benefits of solar power, including lower carbon emissions and lower operating costs.


If you are interested in our products and want to know more details,please leave a message here,we will reply you as soon as we can.

Scroll to Top