Tesla is everywhere in the news lately, riding high on their hot technology, innovative cars, and superhero-like CEO, Elon Musk.
At the same time, sales of other electric vehicles are climbing quickly: The Chevy Volt, the Nissan Leaf, and the Mitsubishi i are showing double- and even triple-digit growth over last year.
The growth in demand in EVs comes as a result not only of increases in gas prices, but also of the arrival of more — and more attractive — models and buying and leasing options for EVs. For example, Tesla just cut the Model S reservation cost in half, down to $2,500, and Ford this week cut the Ford Focus EV price tag by $4,000. And battery-powered cars are outselling plug-in hybrids as drivers collectively surpass range anxiety and lease options get ever more appealing.
These are all signs of boom times for electric vehicles, but there’s another important side to the equation: Plugging an EV into your solar-powered home can essentially double your savings.
We’ve written a few times over the years about the benefits of connecting an EV to your home, but now that electric vehicles are getting mainstream love, it’s high time we take another look.
Back in 2011, we published an infographic on what drives up gas prices (gas prices today are currently approaching the same high levels that they reached when we published this infographic) — and more importantly, how much you can save by plugging your car into a solar system.
In short, if you plug an EV into your home system you can save more than $900 a year in gas savings, not factoring in any rebates or tax credits you get from installing solar.
For homeowners that are installing their first system, you will want to factor your EV into the size of your system; for an average driver, most of the EVs on the market use about the same amount of energy, about 200 to 250 kilowatt-hours a month.
If you’ve already got a solar system and you’re adding an EV, a study we conducted in 2010 on solar homes and EVs in Los Angeles found that you would need three additional panels to cover a 20-mile commute in a Nissan Leaf, and that it would cost between $22 and $27 more per month to power an EV.
Of course, adding an EV to an existing system will save you money otherwise spent on gas, and installing a new system to handle an EV and your home electricity use will save you double by cutting down your electricity bill as well as your gas bill.
And if you live in one of the places where solar energy is cheaper, such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts or California, then your savings are going to be even greater, just as your commutes will probably be longer.
Article By: Matthew Wheeland
Tesla roadster and solar system photo Creative Commons-licensed by
Wikimedia user Mbudzi.