SolarChargedDriving.Com hits 1,000 stories!

This ad-wrapped Nissan LEAF that advertises California Solar Electric is exactly the type of thing SolarChargedDriving.Com has been covering — and promoting — for nearly three years now.

We recently reached 1,000 entries on SolarChargedDriving.Com. I have to admit I had no idea when I started SolarChargedDriving.Com in Sept. 2009 that we’d achieve that number in less than three years.

While – perhaps somewhat luckily for us – no major media organization has yet found solar-charged driving interesting enough, or, perhaps I should say, lucrative enough, to cover, we at SolarChargedDriving.Com, which is dedicated to covering and promoting the revolutionary synergy between solar energy and electric vehicles, find it fascinating.

We’ve been lucky enough to publish dozens of guest columns and stories by a number of different people, including several by current solar-charged drivers, and dozens by University of Denver undergraduates, who’ve worked as interns at SolarChargedDriving.Com.

Given that 1,000 stories and entries is a big milestone, especially when you consider most have been written by one person, me (pat on my own back ;-), I figured I’d point you to my favorite 10 SolarChargedDriving.Com entries and stories.

Our favorite 10 stories from our first 1,000 –>

sun-miles-1000-saved1. What are Sun Miles©? This is one of the shortest entries on SolarChargedDriving.Com, but it’s also rather distinctive and I’m proud of its creativity. Sun Miles© is a unique term that specifically defines miles driven by an electric car whose batteries have been solar-charged. I trademarked the term in 2009. The ‘What are Sun Miles©?’ page has been viewed 4,609 times in the past 2 ¾ years, making it the 12th most-viewed page on SolarChargedDriving.Com. (‘A solar expert compares leasing to buying’, a guest column written by Brian Sharpe from REC Solar has the most page views on SolarChargedDriving.Com with more than 7,000!)

solar-police2. Questioning the buying is better than leasing view on solar. In this analysis, I examine some of the arguments made against leasing a home solar system and problematize many of these. Additionally, I take a close look at an often overlooked issue in the buying solar vs. leasing solar equation: How plopping down tens of thousands to buy a system takes away from your ability to pay down other debt and/or invest in other things. While buying a solar system often ends up being a smarter investment than leasing, given the current trends, which saw 75 percent of the small residential solar market in California go to leases in 2011, it’s clear leasing opens up solar, financially and psychologically, for a lot of people – much to the chagrin of solar elitists/purists, who continue to rail against solar leasing. Of course, I haven’t heard as much from this elitist group lately. Maybe they realize they’ve lost the battle and that solar leasing is absolutely crucial to bringing in hundreds of thousands of new people into the solar fold, people who never, ever would’ve gone solar if they’d had to shell out the cash up front for a system.

chelsea-sexton-ev1-b3. Chelsea Sexton weighs in on solar-charged driving. We managed to snag Who Killed the Electric Car? star Chelsea Sexton for a Q&A on EV+ PV. Sexton delivered with some great answers to our questions, including some in which we pushed her on how important she sees renewable energy being to the overall EV growth equation.

alexandra-ian-rav4-ev4. Former Baywatch star Alexandra Paul advocates for EV + PV. I did this story in November of 2009, just a few weeks after launching SolarChargedDriving.Com. A Facebook friend posted a link to an NPR story on Paul’s EV activism and I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool to interview her? Somewhat to my surprise, Paul agreed to do an interview. This despite the fact that, at the time, SolarChargedDriving.Com had very few readers. We’re doing a bit better now, with about 3,000 unique visitors a month. Stories like the one we did on Paul have helped build up our profile and readership. Thank you Alexandra 🙂

plugging-in-to-coal25. Surprise: Gas cars use more electricity than EVs. Guest columnist Peder Norby, who also writes on his own blog, Electric BMW, ActiveE: Sun Gas, wrote this entry. In it, he crunches the numbers to show that, depending on a number of different factors, most notably gasoline mileage, many gas cars can end up using as much electricity per mile as an EV. How, you ask? It takes a lot of electricity to refine oil into gas. Unfortunately, very few people know this. Peder helps put the spotlight on the electricity sucked down by gasoline cars and draws important attention to the bigger picture of auto fueling.

top-10-plug-in16. Top 10 clean energy states to plug in an electric car. Way back in June 2010, we looked at how grid mix and EVs come together — well before anyone else we know of did this story, and well before the Union of Concerned Scientists’ report on EVs and grid mix. We wrote two companion pieces as well: Ten dirtiest U.S. states to plug in an EV, and Should West Virginians skip the electric car?

gm-canopy-modesto7. GM’s 200 solar EV charging stations to quadruple U.S. total. In this article, I interviewed GM’s Global Manager for Renewable Energy, Rob Threlkeld, about GM’s unprecedented and exciting plan to build more than 200 solar EV charging stations at GM dealerships across the U.S. The goal: To help promote the Chevy Volt, and the Volt + solar synergy to prospective Volt buyers.

solar-journ-garret-rob28. A solar-powered road trip across America. This feature was a lot of fun to write, mostly because the two people it focuses on — Columbia University graduate students Garrett Fitzgerald and Rob van Haaren — bring so much enthusiasm and creativity to solar-charged driving. The pair is planning to become the first to drive across the United States in a full production EV powered 100 percent by solar energy. They’ll be pulling a trailer behind their EV with a unique thin-film solar array that they plan to use to charge the batteries of the EV. They’ll charge during the day and they’ll do most of their actual driving in the evening and night. No solar-offset here at all, just 100 percent solar-charged driving!

solar-panel-for-big-better9. Is bigger solar better solar? In this blog entry I analyze the question of whether big solar farms, sometimes located in fragile natural areas, or rooftop + parking lot solar are a better way to stoke the solar revolution in the United States. I come down firmly on the side of democratic, distributive rooftop and parking lot solar. This particular blog entry, published in December 2009 has generated about 2,500 hits and continues to be a consistent portal through which Googlers find SolarChargedDriving.Com.

electric-avenue-screen-shot10. Driving down electric car avenue in the Colorado Rockies. I’m proud of this story because it’s the first true video news story I put together (see the YouTube video with the story). Yes, I’ve done a bunch of less newsy, more laid-back type videos (check them out on SolarChargedDriving.Com’s YouTube channel). However, this is the first time I invested myself in trying to produce a “real” video news story. In fact, for a first attempt at a formal video news piece, I think it’s actually pretty good 🙂