Golden State Foods (GSF), Irvine, Calif., adopted solar energy to power its pallet jacks and lift gates, thus extending the service life of lift gate electric batteries on their trucking fleet.

By the end of 2015, each of the 10 quality custom distribution centers, a division of GSF, will be equipped with trucks utilizing the solar panels.

GSF embarked upon the use of alternative energy in 2012, beginning with traditional solar panels that power pallet jacks in Southern California. Within the past few months, GSF facilities in Southern California and Oregon have installed thin, flexible, weatherproof, high-output solar panels to a total of 20 trailers and one tractor. The low-profile solar panels passively charge the lift gate batteries during the day, regardless of whether the vehicles are on or off.

"It's a priority goal for GSF to utilize renewable energy or alternative fuels in 100% of our fleet by 2020," says Dimetria Jackson, director of corporate social responsibility and sustainability. "Through the innovative use of solar energy, we have eliminated an industrywide challenge of maintaining lift gate battery life during deliveries, allowing GSF to provide sustainable, consistent and reliable service to our customers."

The panels are flexible and work in both UV-A and UV-B light. Since installing the solar panels, GSF has eliminated battery-related failure on delivery routes.