There are many changes in the way these solar cells are being manufactured. These solar panels have increased in production due to the reduction in the price of such panels and the materials that are associated to be producing such panels.
A solar panel would take care of most of the electric needs of the bus. This includes the power needs of the bus to run its engine. Before the solar panel system was not powerful enough to take care of the engine needs at best they would be support the auxiliary needs of the bus like the lights, however today the solar panels are powerful enough to be able to run the engine of the bus.
Fundamentally, there is a motor that is fitted in the bus which is connected to the solar panels. This motor is coupled with the engine. The electricity that is generated from the solar panels is stored in a battery. The battery powers the motor which when turned on will move the engine. This is the basic arrangement of a solar powered vehicle. The chief maintenance in this process is the battery that has to be periodically changed. However with the many advancements in the field of solar electricity, the frequency of battery change has been reduced and there are many performance improvement monitors that have increased the power output of the motor. Greater the power of the motor the more powerful would be the engine.
The engine is also coupled with an auxiliary power source like a gasoline power source or a conventional fuel source which is used as an emergency in case the solar powered battery fails in any case. The solar powered battery is highly efficient and gives a high amount of mileage. However the only reason why it was kept out of mass production till now was because of the high cost in replacing the battery.
There are many advantages of fixing a solar power unit on a shuttle bus. Most of these shuttle busses today have electronic equipment like TV, fridge, air condition etc which require electricity. Normally most of the electricity would come from the battery that is charged by the engine of the vehicle. However, now the load on the engine is lesser with the solar battery taking care of most of these needs. This helps in smoother running of the vehicle. This is also one of the main reasons why people are switching to solar power. If the only initial cost of installing the unit can be managed, there would be savings for a long time in the coming future.