The Big Lemon to introduce solar powered buses

A fleet of 10 vehicles will cover the 52 route

Brighton’s most beloved bus service is preparing to install solar panels on its Whitehawk depot, leading the Brighton Energy Cooperative’s (BEC) vision of having zero emissions bus services in every community across the UK by 2030.

The company says: “Using an innovative combination of three renewable technologies, the project will generate clean energy during the day, store it in a battery and then charge up the Solar Buses overnight.”

£250,000 of investment has already been raised to replace its 10 biodiesel buses, which has exceeded the original target of £100,000. Alongside this, the company has been shortlisted for the M&S Community Energy Fund, which could provide an extra £25,000 if their bid is successful. This would cover the solar panel installation at the depot.

The solar panels would provide enough energy for each bus to cover the 52 route on 100 per cent renewable energy which runs between Woodingdean and the city centre.


The Brighton based company has been operating since 2007 and runs purely on waste cooking oil, which it claims has saved 900 tonnes of carbon emissions in the process. Operating in areas of some of the highest concentrations of NOx emissions in Brighton, the Big Lemon welcomes initiatives to help cut down roadside emissions and provide a safer environment for residents.

For now, the crowdfunding campaign needs momentum to guarantee the project will take off. Rewards for donors include having their name on the ‘Solar Bus Wall of Fame’ and being able to name one of the new buses.

Managing director Tom Druitt said: “I’m hugely grateful to the M&S Community Energy Fund for giving us such a fantastic opportunity, and excited to be working with Brighton Energy Co-op on the Solar Bus project – with their expertise in solar installations we can’t go wrong.

“All we have to do now is get enough votes on the M&S Community Energy Fund website and achieve our crowdfunding target… no mean feat. We are calling on everyone who wants zero-emissions buses powered on renewable energy in Brighton & Hove to help us in any way they can.”

You can donate to the crowdfunder here.