Solar And Electric Vehicles: Good For The Environment And Your Wallet

So, you installed solar panels on your house to target sustainability and energy savings, but now you are looking for ideas to further decrease your carbon footprint and live an even greener lifestyle…

Have you looked into driving an electric vehicle (EV)?

As the name implies, electric cars run on electricity, and give solar owners the unique ability to produce their own fuel (via sunlight) and drive around without emitting any harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Plus, the cost of ‘filling up your tank’ can be up to 95% cheaper than what you are spending on gasoline (even at $2/gallon)!*

In fact, a Southern Current residential solar customer has a rental property which he uses as a “sustainability model home” and serves as a charging station for other EV owners. When not used by other electric car drivers he charges his Tesla – a premium electric car that has earned top automotive safety and design awards.

A Local Example Of Sustainable Transportation

“It is an airbnb that accommodates guests who drive electric (their own cars). It is called ‘destination charging’ by Tesla. My first guest was visiting from Georgia and driving a Chevy VOLT. Guests charge their cars for free. Gas car drivers are welcome too, but they are on their own buying fuel. I expect it to grow over time as more people are driving electric cars.”- Jonathan W. of Charleston, South Carolina

Southern Current designed and installed a 4.275 kW solar energy system and EV charging station for Jonathan in fall 2015. He shared his enthusiasm about the installation on Facebook:

“First solar electric billing cycle for the Cottage is… <$30! Includes running the house (low occupancy) plus occasional Tesla charging.”

“This billing cycle has only 25 days with solar meter. Even with the sun low in the sky this time of year and some trees casting unwanted shade! 100% net energy from clean-sunshine is within reach!”

Electric Cars Fueled By Solar Energy: PV2EV

PV2EV is a buzz phrase sometimes used by members of the solar and electric car communities which refers to a scenario where solar panels (photovoltaics or “PV”) provide the electricity to recharge an electric vehicle (EV).

The PV2EV combination (or EV + Solar) is a win-win, offsetting not just household electricity, but also fuel expenses. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors has been quoted as saying, “By definition we must move towards renewable energy. How can people argue against that? To argue that is to say that eventually we will run out of energy and die or civilization will collapse.”

A big part of this plan is electric vehicles, which can significantly reduce the amount of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. The mission of Tesla is “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bring compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”

Related Reading: The Environmental Benefits Of Going Solar In South Carolina

Will we be seeing a whole lot more of this in the Lowcountry and across South Carolina? EV owners were some of the biggest solar adopters in California while the Solar PV market was developing.

All-electric vehicles have no gasoline engine and run exclusively on the energy stored in the on-board batteries. The Tesla Model S and the Nissan LEAF are examples of highway-capable all-electric cars. The Nissan LEAF has a 24 kWh battery pack which can be fully supported by a 3 kW solar energy system.

A Final Note From Jonathan

“For folks in South Carolina who are thinking about getting solar soon, I can vouch for Southern Current providing good service for my installation. Other homes in the neighborhood nearby have one of their system installs. My experience is one of good & efficient installation service. I like the microinverter system that allows each module to be monitored individually. Pretty cool.”

Learn More About Solar Power In South Carolina

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top solar installers in the Southeast, with specialties  Commercial and Residential as well as Utility-Scale Solar. View the Southern Current Solar Panel Installation Portfolio to see projects we’ve completed in your area, or Contact Us to request information about a solar panel installation for your home, business, or property and see how much you can save!

*A Nissan LEAF requires 24 kWh for a full ‘tank’ which can travel 70-100 miles. Based on $0.12 per kWh this would cost $2.88 to ‘refill’ using an electrical outlet pulling energy from the power grid.

A home solar panel installation allows you to essentially buy power from yourself at a cost of $0.05 per kWh (or less), so refueling a Nissan LEAF with your own solar panels would cost just $1.20. Do yourself a favor and research owning or leasing an electric car the next time you need an automobile (and make sure you power it with solar)!