THE Big Lemon is launching two new electric buses powered by solar energy – a first for the UK.

The buses, which will operate daily on the 52 route between Woodingdean and the city centre, will be charged overnight from newly-installed solar panels at the company’s depot in east Brighton.

The existing coach fleet runs entirely on used cooking oil, making the fleet the greenest in Britain.

The new buses naturally come in a bright lemon livery with added design features including a happy sun put together by CEO Tom Druitt and new MD Norman Baker.

The buses also come fully equipped with wi-fi and USB charging points.

An event with a lemon theme to celebrate the arrival of the new buses and the installation of the solar panels will take place at the company’s depot on Friday.

Company founder Tom Druitt says: “We’re delighted to be launching the UK’s first solar-powered electric buses and we are hugely grateful for the support from the local community to enable us to make this happen.

“Transport accounts for a quarter of this country’s carbon emissions and we see this step as the first in a much wider revolution in sustainable transport nationally.”

The Big Lemon’s new MD Norman Baker said it is a very exciting time.

He said: “This event shows both that we continue to lead the way in terms of sustainable transport and that we are expanding our fleet, and going from strength to strength.”

Norman Baker is a new signing for the bus company.

He was the MP for Lewes from 1997 to 2015 and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport from 2010 to 2013.

Since leaving politics in 2015 he served as chairman of Bus Users UK, working closely with chief executive Claire Walters in raising the profile of Bus Users and helping steer the organisation towards becoming a more diverse and representative body.

He said: “I am delighted to have joined The Big Lemon which has gone from strength to strength in recent times.

“I feel particularly at home with its strong environmental approach, showing you can run a successful business in an ethical manner. I am thrilled to be part of it.”