First month with solar nets 2,600 banked EV miles

utility-meter-verticaleditors-blog-entry3We’re exactly one month into banking Sun Miles™ – meaning solar-powered miles driven by an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) whose batteries have been charged using solar energy – for a future EV.

And it looks, and feels, pretty good.

It looks good because in just 31 days, we’ve amassed 650 extra kWh hours of electricity, or enough to drive an electric car 2,600 gasoline — and air pollution free — miles. We’ve also banked $390 worth of gas cost savings (assuming $3 per gallon and 20 m.p.g).

It feels pretty good because we – like a growing number of people in the U.S., and around the world, by our own actions, are proving that, yes, you can run a car (albeit a future one in our case) on sun.

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Our experience defies the often virulent claims that renewable energy + electric cars can’t be done. Indeed, I’m truly flabbergasted at how much energy many people invest in online comments in which they claim that solar + electric cars either can’t be done, or will never amount to anything.

How do these loud critics of renewable energy + electric cars “know” it “can’t work”? What do they actually “know” about electric cars? Renewable energy? The combination of the two? (Usually, not very much). And why are they so adamant that they do in fact “know” what they “know”?

Why do they hate EV+PV?
It’s actually kind of fascinating to ponder why so many people appear to be so deeply invested in wanting renewable energy + electric cars to fail, especially when there’s so many positive things that can come out of this combination, environmentally and economically, for the individual and for society. Personally, I believe a big part of virulently anti-EV+renewable energy commentary is a near pathological fear of change.

Suffice to say, it’s extremely satisfying to prove the angry naysayers wrong.

And, contrary to the contrarians, it hasn’t been prohibitively expensive for us to get going on PV+EV by adding a solar system to our home.

we-got-solar-small-box1Indeed, as I’ve written elsewhere, we are poised to save money on our home electric and gasoline costs with payback for our 5.59 kW solar system, whose out-of-pocket costs = about $8,500 coming after just four years.

There’s more. We’ll be cutting our CO2 emissions much more quickly and much more substantially with the EV + PV combination than we would if we were simply powering our home electricity use with our 5.59 kW system. That’s because we’re not just replacing a coal-fired refrigerator with solar, we’re replacing a gasoline powered car with solar – and gasoline powered cars are among the worst global CO2 offenders. (Yes, Dorthy, you can replace oil with solar!)

Additionally, our 2,600 banked Sun Miles™, which I am estimating will reach about 18,000 miles in about a year and a half — the earliest it looks like those of us in Colorado will be able to purchase a pure EV at a price accessible to the average consumer — eliminate all CO, NOX, SO2, particulate and ozone pollution.

Sun Miles™ mean no air pollution
That’s right, Sun Miles™ eliminate all air pollution.

And our $390 in gas savings in the first month will balloon as well. In a year and a half, we’ll have $2,400 worth of gasoline banked on our Xcel Energy account (welcome to the new “gas stations”, or in our case, gasoline banks of the future – your local utility!). And, of course, we’ll continue to produce enough solar electricity to power our new EV without having to eat away at all at those 18,000 banked Sun Miles™.

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Ours is not an exception-to-the-rule story – this is the standard fallback of the naysayers who are initially rattled when you point to your own example as evidence that their “can’t-be-done” assertions aren’t true. It’s a story that could be repeated all over America, and much of the world by average, everyday people, with average, everyday household incomes such as ours.

At least 40 percent of the single-family homes in our tiny square of the earth could support a solar system that could produce substantially more electricity than they consume, assuming those households are only moderately energy conscious. There are hundreds of thousands of similarly excellent-for-solar residential rooftops in Colorado, tens of millions in the United States, and hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, around the world.

Solar is not expensive
And money is no excuse. Solar is not expensive when you take a total cost perspective on money.

What’s a better use of your money – erecting a home and electric car gas tank and electricity bank that will eliminate your home electric and gasoline costs, or forking that money over to your electric utility and Big Oil?

That $8,500 we plopped down for our solar system? We would pay that out to Xcel Energy over the next eight years anyway! That’s worth repeating: The money you spend on a solar system – whether it’s $8,500, $12,000, or $18,000 — is money you will pay out to someone no matter what!

What’s a better use of your money – erecting a home and electric car gas tank and electricity bank that will eliminate your home electric and gasoline costs, or forking that money over to your electric utility and Big Oil?

The choice seemed obvious to me when I first realized it was a choice we could make a little over a year ago. After a month with a 5.59 kW solar system pumping out clean electricity, much of which we’re banking for future EV use, I’m absolutely convinced we made the right choice, even though saving the $11,500 to buy the system wasn’t easy (we’ll be getting a $3,500 Federal Tax Credit next year).

The proof is in our hard numbers: 650 kWh of banked electricity, which = 2,600 miles worth of air pollution free EV driving and $390 worth of gasoline savings + $32 worth of home electricity savings and counting — all within the span of 31 Colorado sunshine days.

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prius-resources-page-image Like this story? Interested in the solar EV/PHEV synergy? Join our Sun Miles™ Club and start meeting & interacting with other people around the world who want to drive, or already are driving, their cars on sun! Register to join us today!