A Solar Powered Car

Today’s post come from our friends at RegenEn Solar in Boise, ID. Contact them for a free assessment of what it would take to give you and your family the convenience and assurance of energy independence with solar.


The idea hadn’t occurred to me until after we had our home solar system installed. As I day-dreamt about the free power of the coming the summer sun, I started thinking; what about the different improvements in our home we could make to eliminate our natural gas bill? Like changing our water heater over to an electric. Or replacing our gas fireplace with an electric one. And the oven was already electric! The savings were really starting to add up. Then I thought, “WOW! What would it be like to get an electric car and not have to pay for gas or electricity to power it?” I could literally drive around town at zero charge per mile. The only future cost would be maintenance.


This got me crunching some numbers. Depending on the roof and layout of a home, an average of 20 additional panels are needed to provide the power to charge an E.V.  (electric vehicle). The average driver goes about 20k miles per year. One panel can produce enough electricity for an EV to travel about 1000 miles/year. Using this calculation, the average homeowner will need 20 additional panels. While the roof and system design can cause constraints, these panels are usually easy to add.


The EPA rates EVs by how many kWhs (KiloWattHours) it takes to drive 100 miles. They then use this calculation to arrive at “MPGe” or “miles-per-gallon-equivalent.” With the closing of the XL pipeline and the current political climate pointing toward even more fossil fuel restrictions, it’s looking like the cost of fuel will be on the rise. An electric vehicle and additional solar panels may end up paying for themselves quicker than expected.


While the ability to drive with no fuel cost was attractive, I also started thinking about the other possible benefits. One of the primary reasons we had solar installed was because we have an ultimate goal of energy independence. Once we are “off grid” with solar panels and a battery system, not only will our monthly power bills be at zero, we’ll also be completely independent in terms of our energy needs. Our panels will be able to produce what we need to live comfortably, no matter what happens to the power supply. With just 20 more panels, our system will provide that same security and give us the same kind of “insurance policy” with our auto fuel. That’s peace of mind that helps us sleep better at night!

Greg Picard is a solar advocate and former movie sound professional living in Eagle, Idaho. He is a Managing Partner in RegenEn Solar and would love to speak to you about how solar will change your life. Connect with him at greg.picard@regenensolar.com.


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