independence-house-2011editors-blog-entry3I used to think the environmental benefits of solar-charged driving were the best part of plugging into the home solar + electric car synergy.

I still do.

But fueling independence is a pretty damn close second for me – much closer than when I first started on the road to solar-charged driving in Aug. 2009.

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This has a lot to do with the realization of what an incredible solar gas station we have on our Aurora, Colo. rooftop, a realization that has come as a result of actually having solar on our roof.

We’re halfway to solar-charged driving, having had a 5.59 home solar system for about a year now. (Like most people, we’re still waiting for affordable highway capable electric cars to arrive in our market).

Break the Big Oil umbilical cord
In fact, what we’ve got on our roof right now isn’t just a home solar system: It’s a giant, lucrative, break-away-from-Big-Oil’s-umbilical cord solar “gas” station.

In just one year, our personal solar gas station has produced 5,200 kWh of extra electricity. We’ve banked that electricity with our utility, Xcel Energy, for future fueling of an electric car.

That’s 18,000 miles of driving in an electric car such as a Nissan LEAF or Ford Focus Electric and, at 25 mpg and $3.80 per gallon, more than $2,700 worth of solar gasoline!

Best of all: Big Oil — or, if you prefer, Foreign Oil — hasn’t produced our fuel. We’ve produced all of that fuel with our very own 26 solar panels.

Not a single penny we’ve spent will go to some fat cat oil company executive or to some foreign oil dictator or king.

oil-pipelineProducing your own fuel
And, when the price of gas rises, so will the value of our solar kWh hours, which, once again, we have produced all by ourselves.

I repeat the “all by ourselves” bit because it is just so damn radical – and cool.

Never before in modern auto-dominated history has it been so easy to produce, by yourself, the fuel that powers the car(s) you drive!

I can’t tell you what a great feeling that is. Well, okay, I can – and I am 😉

But you can’t really know what a great feeling that is until you do it yourself, or, at least, talk to someone who has.

We’ve profiled dozens of folks who are plugging into solar-charged driving and, while each one has different motivations, fueling independence is always, always at the top. And, once they’ve plugged into solar-charged driving, I’m telling you, they can’t tell you, me, and the world, enough about what a great feeling auto fueling independence is.

Solar puts you in control
Imagine no one else in control of producing your auto fueling. And no one in control of how much you pay for it. Finally, imagine no more trips to the gas station — ever, or, if you have a plug-in hybrid, a helluva lot fewer trips — we just read about a GM Volt owner who drove more than 5,000 miles in six months before he filled up his gas tank for the very first time!

You produce the fuel that powers your car(s) with the solar gas station for which you, yourself paid.

So, what’s it going to be for you on this American Independence Day: More of the utter and complete dependence you’ve experienced for so long — or the euphoria-inducing fueling independence you can achieve by plugging into the home solar + electric car combo?

Will you pay a lot for that gas station?

Maybe, maybe not – it depends entirely on the rebate structure where you live, whether that’s in the United States, or somewhere else.

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I can tell you that we’ve achieved our auto fueling independence having spent just $8,000 out of pocket. This for a solar system that will power 100 percent of family of four’s yearly electric use plus enough additional kWh to power an electric car 18,000 miles per year.

In fact, 18,000 miles comes close to covering the entire annual distance we drive in our two-car household. And, with those banked kWh we’ve generated while waiting for an electric car here in Colorado, we could power two electric cars, one full electric, one plug-in hybrid electric, for the next decade while paying out only occasionally to Big Oil to fuel our PHEV on longer trips of more than 100 miles — of which we make relatively few per year.

So, what’s it going to be for you on this American Independence Day: More of the utter and complete dependence you’ve experienced for so long — or the euphoria-inducing fueling independence you can achieve, by yourself — sorry, I had to get one more of those in there 🙂 — by plugging into the home solar + electric car combo?

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