Changing the world via solar-charged driving

penn-couple-EV-PV-LEAFSometimes readers of SolarChargedDriving.Com e-mail us with pictures of their own personal solar-charged driving set-ups and, if we can, we try to persuade them to let us run their pictures so that everyone else can see them too.

That’s the case with Linda Swyderski, who was inspired to e-mail us based on a blog entry I wrote about my 20-year-old Acura Integra, which I bought new in 1992.

Linda, who e-mailed SolarChargedDriving.Com the picture-perfect EV + PV photo above, wrote us about her own clunker car story and what it was that finally inspired her to say goodbye to her clunker –>

“I just gave my 1991 Honda CRX HF (got 61 mpg highway, 40+ mpg locally) to a young fella who is converting it to all electric. Why did I give up my beloved CRX after it yielded me 280K solid and safe miles on the odometer? Because we bought a Nissan Leaf to replace it!”

{module 53}

Solar-charged in Pennsylvania
As you can tell by the picture above, Linda and her husband are solar-charging their new LEAF via a 6.75 kW solar system on the roof of their garage in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Better yet, they plan to convert the Toyota Prius pictured next to the LEAF to a plug-in soon so that it, too, can start to generate what we here at SolarChargedDriving.Com like to call Sun Miles®.

Linda and her husband Keith reserved their LEAF in April 2010 and waited nearly two years before their own personal LEAF arrived in February 2012. They’re putting about 1,000 miles per month on the LEAF with a good percentage of those miles being fueled by solar-generated electricity.

Prior to getting their LEAF and plugging it in regularly, Linda says they were producing about 8,000 kWh of electricity per year via their solar system, which they had installed in 2009, and using about 9,000 kWh annually. With the LEAF now drawing about 8 kWh per day and the Prius soon to be converted into a plug-in, she says “we need to add more solar to make up the difference.”

Interestingly, Linda and Keith also have a small wind turbine, which she calls a “novelty” that can charge batteries as well as two electric tractors.

‘Tree huggers’
Linda tells us that environmental concerns were the primary motivation for the couple to plug into solar-charged driving.

“We are the tree-hugging freaks that your grandma warned you about,” she notes lightheartedly.

Between Hubbert’s Peak and Jevon’s Paradox, we have to do something to get away — far, far away — from fossil fuels as soon as possible!
Linda Swyderski, Solar-charged Driver

In fact, the couple live on a small farm where they have horses, sheep and chickens and where they grow a number of different fruits and vegetables, including raspberries, blackberries, and grapes. “It goes without sayng that we jar and freeze a lot,” she notes.

The Swyderskis are also dedicated recyclers and composters. They also try to avoid using pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and GMO crops as well as growth hormones and antibiotics for the animals on their farm.

“This makes managing the farm twice as hard,” explains Linda. “But also twice as rewarding.”
Be the change you want
In short, as Linda puts it, “Without getting all ethereal on you, we are trying to be the change we want to see in the world. Between Hubbert’s Peak and Jevon’s Paradox, we have to do something to get away — far, far away — from fossil fuels as soon as possible!”

She adds that solar-charged driving isn’t just for environmentalists: “Energy security is homeland security. No military intervention is required to power our EV!”

{googleAds}<div style=”float:right; margin-left: 10px;”>
<script type=”text/javascript”><!–
google_ad_client = “pub-7703542917199961”;
/* 200×200,
created 12/8/09 */
google_ad_slot = “7950368454”;
 = 200;
google_ad_height = 200;


While their green inclinations pushed them to plug into EV + PV, it’s the savings that EV driving represent that’s turned out to be the most satisfying part of solar-charged driving for the Pennsylvania couple.

“The thing we enjoy the absolute most is coming home and plugging in the car!,” writes Linda. “Here is a fun fact: My husband calculated that in his 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid (which he drove to work daily prior to the LEAF’s arrival), he spent $100/month on fuel. He estimates now, at the going price of electricity from our supplier (PECO), he pays (or would pay, without solar PV) $25 per month on LEAF fuel (electricity!). Quite a savings!”

Thank you Linda and Keith for sharing your story. And thank you for being the change you — and we — want to see in the world!

Related articles–>