Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • June 2018
Written by 

PV + EV = Driving on sunshine!

Tired of rising gas prices? Want to produce your own fuel at home? Then PV + EV might be right for you. PV stands for photovoltaics or solar electric. EV stands for electric vehicle, like the Nissan Leaf or the Toyota Prius Plug-In, Chevy Volt, Chevy Bolt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Volkswagen e-Golf, Ford Focus Electric, Kia Soul EV, Tesla S, Tesla X, Tesla Model 3. Yes, folks, we are just getting started.

The electric vehicle surge is here and it’s here to stay. EVs are quiet, do not use expensive gasoline, do not require oil changes and have a lower cost to operate compared to gas vehicles. The mileage range per charge is nearly equal to a full tank of gas. Public charge stations are available, and more are being installed every day.

And best yet, no more noxious emissions from your car. Your electric vehicle is not emitting CO2. Right? When you drive an EV, you are running on battery power — a battery that was likely charged by electricity from your utility. But how did your utility make that electricity? In Wisconsin, about 68 percent of electricity is generated by burning coal. And burning coal emits CO2. And lots of it.

In fact, if you are a somewhat typical driver, it may take 4,500kWh of electricity to charge your EV for a year. While your EV does not emit CO2, your utility is emitting some 5 tons of CO2 to generate the 4,500 kWh of electricity that you used to charge your car.

But you can charge your car using sunshine instead of coal!

Using PV to charge your EV eliminates the CO2 emissions from fueling your EV. Increasingly, EV owners are looking to the sun for the solution. Solar energy systems, or photovoltaic (PV) systems make clean, renewable electricity that can offset all the electricity that you are buying from your utility to charge your EV.

A solar electric system that would generate that same 4,500kWh per year might cost a homeowner about $12,000. After Focus on Energy incentives and the 30 percent federal tax credit, a homeowner’s net cost for solar might be about $7,392. That solar electric system should far out last the EV, with an expected life of over 30 years.

And that’s how you drive on sunshine! 

Rob Peck

Rob Peck is a Solar Design Consultant and a Member-Owner with North Wind Renewable Energy Cooperative of Stevens Point. For the past eight years, Rob has worked with families and businesses to design solar electric systems that make sense for their budget and their energy goals. Rob can be reached at 715-630-1232 or [email protected]



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