Are you looking for more innovative ways to lead a green lifestyle, and reduce your overall household’s energy consumption? Here is a fresh idea to wrap your brain around: a solar powered electric car! This is an ideal scenario were you can kill two birds with one stone: if you install solar panels on your rooftop, not only can you power your home with a clean renewable energy, but you can also fuel your car for life, free of charge! Having an electric vehicle that runs exclusively on solar power will enable you to be completely free from the grid and realize tremendous savings not only on traditional fossil fuel, but on electricity as well. Your car and your home are one of the biggest contributors to green house gas emissions, so making both of them carbon neutral, brings our society one step closer to a cleaner Earth.
Solar Power for Electric Cars
One of the downsides of getting an electric car is that you still need to charge it using electricity from the grid, which essentially means that you are continuing to be dependent on polluting fossil fuel energy. Not to mention the fact that by charging the battery from your electric car, your electricity bill will be significantly higher.
Another alternative and one that is truly green is to charge your electric car with solar energy produced by the solar panels on your roof. So how much solar energy would you actually need to power an electric car? Here is a simple break down: on average, Americans drive about 12,000 miles a year. The Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, and Mini E use approximately 1 kWh for every 4 or 5 miles driven. Consequently, your solar panels would need to generate between 200 and 250 kWh per month to power your car. This is equal to about 2.5 kW of installed solar capacity, or 10 250-watt standard modules, or less than 8 SunPower 327-watt modules. Consult your local solar installer to get exact details on the amount of solar energy it would take to charge your electric car in your area.
The idea of powering electric cars with solar energy is quickly catching on in the commercial world. Commercial spaces large and small are putting up solar carports that are able to house as many as 20 cars, charging them with solar energy generated by the solar panels on the rooftops of the carports. As there is an anticipated increase on the number of solar vehicles on the road, and the potential strain on the electric grid this will cause, solar carports are being built all over the US as alternative sources of energy for electric cars. At a solar carport, your vehicle will be able to easily pull up and get charged with energy, while excess solar energy will be utilized to charge nearby homes and business.
Is It Too Costly?
When considering this option, it seems like a very costly investment because you need to spend money both on the electric car and on the solar panels. However, if you consider the long term benefits, this investment actually will pay for itself. The solar panels will allow you to power your house independent of the grid using clean energy from sun. This will translate into immediate savings of up to 30% on your electric bill, and in the long run you will actually be able to make money by selling excess electricity to the grid. In addition, solar panels will provide you with a lifetime supply of power for your electric car, which means once you pay for the solar panels, you will essentially be charging your electric car for free.
In case you are not able to afford purchasing a solar system for your home, there are a number of financing options that you can consider. The first is a solar lease, where a solar installer company leases you the panels, and you pay for solar generated power instead of grid-generated electricity. If you want to own the panels, you should consider such financing options as the government subsidized solar FHA loan for or a home equity line of credit. Owning your solar system means has the benefit of getting special rebates to finance the system, as well as tax breaks for utilizing green energy.
From the environmental perspective though, the costs are well worth it. By having a solar powered home and a car, you are actively contributing to weakening the oil industry, saying no to the billions of dollars that our government spends on tax breaks and incentives to oil companies, and reducing our carbon footprint.