The ‘3-legged chair’: Solar, wind & electric cars

reeva-graphicOne of the great things about the small but growing solar-charged driving movement is that much of the impetus behind it is genuine grassroots energy. There are a lot of people out there who are pushing EV + PV not because it will make them money, but because they’re genuinely excited about it.

We at SolarChargedDriving.Com are certainly among this group. And it’s nice to find others who fall into this group as well.

Count the Renewable Energy & Electric Vehicle Association (REEVA) — which we stumbled upon on Twitter — among this group as well.  REEVA is dedicated to a simple but important aim: Helping people affordably plug into the renewable energy + electric vehicle synergy.

As REEVA puts it, “Our renewable energy future is like a 3-legged chair: residential solar, utility scale wind turbines and electric cars all working together.”

We couldn’t agree more.

One of the great critcism of home renewable energy and home solar in particular is that it’s “too expensive”. While we take issue with this characterization  — when you take the long-term picture into account and you live in a U.S. state with good to very good solar incentives (and not everyone does, we know), solar is not “expensive” — we agree that solar’s upfront costs, much of which reside in installation, can be daunting.

Volunteers to install solar
REEVA aims to help folks slash installation costs by using volunteer labor for solar installation.

“[We] help members do solar/wind installations and build electric vehicles at project homes thus cutting the cost by removing labor,” explains REEVA on its web site.

REEVA is the brainchild of Mark Hanson. According to the REEVA web site, Hanson’s inspiration to start the association came when he went on an area solar home tour and discovered that one of the main conversations among tour go-ers was, “Gee, the energy (solar/wind) is free, but the equipment is expensive.”

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Located in Virginia, REEVA seeks to harness a volunteer labor model to help cut solar installation costs to half of what they might otherwise be.

As Hanson explains on REEVA’s site, “I was told that someone should start a club where group member’s help each other to build solar/wind systems and electric cars (that charge on such systems). Thus REEVA was born where volunteers do the labor (like a barn building) and others can see finished projects and learn.”

DIY solar not for everyone
REEVA acknowledges that Do-it-Yourself (DIY) solar and wind aren’t for everyone, noting, “That there are also excellent local installers, and some are REEVA members who do turnkey projects for folks who don’t want to go the DIY route.”

All in all, REEVA seems like a great idea to us. We’d like to learn more about it and we’re thinking some of you might as well. So, we’ll be contacting Hanson to track down more information and, hopefully, a few quotes.

In the meantime, though, we thought we’d publish this short summary of REEVA because the association seems to represent what’s best about the solar-charged driving movement: Everyday people believe in it and they’re doing innovative things to help trransform EV+PV from something few people have heard of and many people still view as fringe into a genuine mainstream phenomenon.

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