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Solar system rolls up extra kWh for our future EV

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4000-kwh

We're racking up the extra kWh with our 5.59 kW solar system, as we wait, seemingly forever, for production EVs to arrive in Colorado.

editors-blog-entry3What would you do with 4,000 kWh?

That’s how many extra kWh we’ve generated in 10 months with our 5.59 kW solar system here in Aurora, Colo. Meanwhile, we’ve used about 3,000 kWh during those 10 months, not too shabby for a family of four in a three-bedroom home, at least if energy conservation is your gig, and it certainly is ours -- or at least mine ;-)

By the time we hit one year with solar on June 28, 2011, we’ll be at – or damn near – 5,000 extra kWh produced. Thanks to the fact that our utility, Xcel Energy, allows you to bank your kWh if you so choose, and so choose we did, those 5,000 kWh will be there for the taking whenever we want to use them.

In fact, the way things are looking we could have 10,000 kWh banked by the time EVs actually arrive in Colorado – if it takes another year for them to get here, which, unfortunately, it’s looking like it might.

As much as I really, really, really want to join folks like George Parrott, who’s solar-charging a Nissan LEAF and a Chevy Volt out in sunny California and ditch oil almost 100 percent, we simply can’t afford two car payments per month right now.

It does seem a tad absurd to be sitting on 10,000 kWh by the time a production EV arrives in our garage – that’s anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 miles of driving, depending on the miles per kWh figure you use (3 to 4 miles per kWh is the range typically cited).

Doing the gasoline math
For those of you interested in the “gasoline” math that’s $4,200 worth of fueling savings using the lower 3 miles per kWh figure, 25 mpg and $3.50 per gallon.

Frankly, while I knew it would be awhile between the time we went online with our home solar system in late June of 2010 and the time that we’d have an EV to charge with that system, I didn’t think it might be two years.

After all, the car makers – in particular Nissan, seemed to be promising EVs in Colorado at least six months earlier than June 2012.

In reality, we won’t need the at least 7,500 extra kWh we will have banked by the time we get an EV – if we manage to snag one by September or October 2011 – for our first EV. Those banked kWh will be for the second EV, or what, ideally, will be a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle such as a Chevy Volt.

5.59 kW system enough for home + EV
That’s because our solar system will pump out enough electricity to cover the 8,000 to 10,000 miles I anticipate we’ll drive our first EV per year plus 100 percent of our home electric use.

Basically, it all means we could be sitting on our 7,500 to 10,000 banked kWh hours for years and years.

As much as I really, really, really want to join folks like George Parrott, who’s solar-charging a Nissan LEAF and a Chevy Volt out in sunny California and ditch oil almost 100 percent, we simply can’t afford two car payments per month right now.

In fact, I’m not exactly sure when we will be able to afford two car payments – especially after going the last 15 years, yes, that’s right, 15 years, with one to two cars and not a single monthly car payment the entire time (currently, we have two cars: a 1992 Acura Integra and a 1994 Toyota Camry).

Hmm…so many extra kWh and possibly not enough EVs in the garage to use them.

Maybe we will be turning on our central AC – something we did just once all of last summer -- a few times this summer and living things up a just a tad ;-)

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