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Charging an electric car with home solar panels

 
 
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While oil recourses are running out, this is a great way to take advantage of home solar panels also for our vehicle energy, and help making the environment greener.

What is the absolute maximum amount of energy that solar panels can get?

Thanks for the interesting report. I want to point out one inaccuracy. When Ms. Carpenter says she'll need an extra 0.79 kWh capacity to accomodate her electric car, she means to say an extra 0.79 kW.

Adding solar to power an electric vehicle - whether fully electric like the Nissan Leaf or a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt - is the wave of the future and that wave is breaking now. Unfortunately, it appears that Ms. Carpenter was gouged by her solar contractor - her costs work out to $9.63/Watt and even for May of 2009 that was a very high price indeed for a simple system. Consumers need to be cautious, check references, and these days - check for certification from NABCEP - the best way to determine whether an installer is qualified and ethical.
As to the comment about AB 811 loans - the good news is that LA County has been hard at work on this and is expected to bring its program to the Board of Supervisors for approval on May 25. If all goes well, the first loans should begin in September.
Prices have come down, new funding mechanisms are coming online, and affordable electric vehicles are nearly here. There has never been a better time to go solar!

Thanks for testing this out and doing an experiment to tell us all how it works. It appears that you are nearly as irritated and frustrated by the failed policies we are currently living with as I am. What you are stuck with are system size caps, restrictive net metering and dwindling rebates, plus you had to pay cash.

Imagine a world where AB811 loans were funded - that is a no-risk loan made by cities or counties for efficiency upgrades and/or solar panels, using our property tax as a repayment mechanism. The loan stays with the house when you sell, city gets first lien, repayment is amortized over 20 years, so you can offset the full cost of your upgrade and/or panels every payment period. We currently have NO availability in almost any city or county in CA. Why?

Then imagine a world where AB920/AB1920 would have passed as written, instead of having Big Utilities re-write it in their favor. We would be allowed - encouraged even - to oversize our rooftop solar systems if we had a favorable site, so we would feed more power into the grid than we consume. The amount we use would be "net metered" as it is now, and the excess would be PAID FOR FAIRLY, not handed to the utility as an expensive, resented gift. This, in turn, would encourage conservation, since it backs it up with actual cash.

Just those 3 changes (loans, expansion of net metering and feed in tariffs for the excess power) would be FREE to the government, virtually FREE to non-generating ratepayers and FREE to generating ratepayers, who enjoy the improved property values as well. It is the only way to get substantial amounts of clean power into our grid for essentially no net cost to any of us.

Sure, the utilities would not make their fixed, guaranteed, unfair profits (nor would they have any capital expenses or fuel expenses for the high-cost peaker power), so it would be a "wash" for them. But "doing fine" is not good enough, and legislators in our state seem to be bought by Big Energy, so they get EVERYTHING for their misguided Big Solar, Big Wind and Big Transmission boondoggles (loan guarantees, huge cash grants, monopolies, guaranteed profits, no cost expansion, public land, "fast tracking," eminent domain, huge rate hikes, control of energy supplies, etc,.) and we get a few rebates, if we have enough tax liabilities and enough cash to buy a system. Plus, they kill our open spaces and deplete our water while increasing GHGS. Some "green" power!

It stinks, but it could change if we all got together and made it...


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