Solar Powered Cars Anyone? How to Run Your Car and Your Home on Sunshine

What are electric vehicle owners really plugging into? car plugged into power plant

Plug in electric vehicle (PEV) owners will say that they save a lot of money on gasoline but according to recent studies, the majority of PEV owners initially became interested in electric cars because they wanted to reduce their carbon footprint. These eco-conscious consumers would rather not run their cars on any fossil fuels if that were possible. PEV owners deserve praise for helping to reduce pollution, but unless their home is powered by renewable energy, every time they plug in to charge their vehicle they still could be using more dirty energy than they need to.

This is because the primary source of the electricity that utility companies provide to homeowners comes from coal-fired power plants. In fact, buildings are responsible for more than 70% of all US greenhouse gases. So, if reducing pollution is a goal for an electric or hybrid vehicle owner, it actually makes more sense to charge up their vehicle with clean, solar electricity.

Can an electric vehicle really be powered by solar?

green house carOf course it can! A home solar energy system can provide power for lighting, heating, cooling, all household electrical appliances and even a car. Solar PV panels absorb energy in sunlight form and convert it into electricity which can power anything.

More Cost Savings and a Higher Return on Investment Achieved when PV is Combined with EV savings chart

Using home solar to charge an electric car does not only have environmental benefits, it also saves money. The savings from driving a solar powered EV is even greater since the fuel source is literally sunlight – which is abundant and free. Homeowners with a solar electric system also pay 50-100% less for their home’s electricity than their non-solar powered neighbors whether or not they drive an electric vehicle or hybrid.

Plus, in addition to cost savings, PEV owners who also power their homes with solar will see an even faster return on investment from both purchases. With EV and Solar PV combined once the homeowner’s panels are paid for, their vehicle’s fuel will be generated by their solar system at no additional cost. Even if a homeowner does not want to purchase a solar system they can still benefit from one by leasing it. Homeowners who lease their solar system start saving on day one.

What Makes a Home Solar Eligible?

darker roi-with-solar2-300x235Whether or not someone drives an electric car or hybrid, if that person’s home is solar eligible, the benefits of a home solar system are numerous. Solar eligible homeowners qualify for electricity cost savings up to 100%, extra income from energy profits, tax credits & grants, federal, state & county financial incentives and a 500% return on investment (125% ROI in less than 5 years).

A home that is most likely to be eligible for solar PV has no shade or has very little shade on its roof and/or the homeowner has enough land to install a poll mounted or ground mounted solar system. Solar installation companies can make an educated guess as to whether or not a home is solar eligible by looking at the home online on Google maps or other satellite mapping websites. Unfortunately, photos available online are not always completely accurate so the best way to determine if a home is solar eligible is to have a certified solar analyst come to the home for an on-site visit. An on-site visit has educational benefits for the homeowner as well since a qualified, certified solar analyst will also review the home’s electrical system and energy usage and review various financing options available as well as providing ROI projections, leaving the homeowner with a thorough understanding of whether or not solar electricity is a good option for their home.