Solar-charging: No better than plugging into coal?

camaro-on-panels1editors-blog-entry3I spend a lot of time — too much of it, really — trolling the Internet and advocating for EV + PV, and taking on, and attempting to deconstruct, anti-EV rhetoric. Usually, it’s not too difficult to take apart anti-EV commentary. However, I may have met my match in a comment string that’s running below a column on RenewableEnergyWorld.Com running under the headline, “Why Electric Vehicles Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”

Written by Tam Hunt, a “Renewable Energy Consultant,” the piece makes the case in favor of EVs, oddly a dangerous case to make on RenewableEnergyWorld.Com where there are a lot of anti-EV folks trolling around. Tam got hit by these folks. I was among those who sought to support Tam — and I got reemed too. My “favorite” comment: EVs are just plain “dumb.”

In any case, one poster I got into it with — “Glenn Doty” — suggested that, essentially, adding renewable energy to the EV equation doesn’t change a thing. That’s right. Not. A. Single. Thing.

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Here’s his logic (from comment No. 98):

“As for you plugging your EV into your home solar system, that STILL results in an increase in coal generated power equal to your demand, as that solar energy could have been sold to offset coal power production, but instead is being consumed by your car… hence even in your situation the reduction in petroleum consumption is directly countered by an increase in coal power. Your tailpipe is more convoluted, but your EV has the same effect on CO2 concentrations as every other EV driver’s does.”

I intially went to e-mail, contacting friends to try and find some retorts to his points, which, if correct, basically mean solar-charged driving is bogus, worthless, lame, a joke — pick your own description. But then I thought: This is conversation we should be having publicly on SolarChargedDriving.Com.

I did post an initial response to “Glenn Doty”, but I will confess it didn’t specifically address his claims, in part — and I will be honest here — because they make my head spin a bit. One online friend has suggested this lies in part with the circularity of “Glenn Doty’s” argument — and I tend to agree. But I’d like to take his logic apart in a more specific way.

One line of thinking I’ve been pursuing is taking the solar off the grid and saying it’s battery stored. But I don’t want to lay that approach out here. I’d rather hear what you have to say first. And, frankly, I could use your help in attacking “Glenn Doty’s” argument.

Of course, there’s always the chance that I’m wrong and that Glenn Doty’s right, which, of course, means, in essence, that solar-charged driving is meaningless, at least from a C02 reduction perspective.


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