May 30

As Chevrolet Volts recharge, GM basks in solar-powered PR

 

Continuing to show itself keen on renewable energy, Chevrolet is featuring some of its Volt owners who are using their own solar power to recharge their electric cars.

One of these is Mark Hildebrandt who has been focused on clean energy since the 1970s. He now owns a company that installs solar panels – so naturally he relies on sun power to create the electricity for his primary needs.

“I made the switch to renewable energy a while ago, and thus with solar energy, I can power my house, charge my Volt and pump energy back into the grid, which I get credit for,” said Hildebrandt, owner of Sunventrix in Saline, Mich., and one of the first Volt purchasers in the state.


Chevrolet Volt owner Mark Hildebrandt in his driveway with his Volt, Monday, May 16, 2011. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet.)

“As more Volts are sold, I believe the demand for solar charging stations will increase,” he said. “I have spoken to a handful of Volt owners in Michigan that are really interested in charging their Volts from solar energy.”

Another Volt driver using the sun for battery power is ZD Wines‘ winemaster and CEO, Robert deLeuze. He has powered his Napa, Calif.-based winery exclusively on solar power since 2007. GM notes deLeuze often parks his Volt among the grape vines to recharge from the winery’s photovoltaic system.

As has been recently published, Chevrolet says OnStar data is showing the Volt is being used as intended – drivers are staying off of gasoline as much as possible so that 1,000 miles between fill-ups is the average.

“The majority of miles driven by Volt customers are powered electrically by the Volt’s battery,” said Cristi Landy, Volt marketing director.

And while we are unsure of the cost-benefit math in the new six-acre solar array at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, and solar-powered charging facilities as well, it seems clear Chevrolet is reaping a publicity payback as it reinforces its commitment toward a greener public image.


ZD Wines Winemaster and CEO Robert deLeuze with his Volt and a solar panel array in the vineyard of his Napa, California-based winery Thursday, May 19, 2011. (Photo by Noah Berger for Chevrolet.)

GM says the “home of the Volt, is already using sunlight to charge Volts before they are loaded for transport to dealerships. The plant has a 20kW Solar Carport that houses 10 Volt charging stations. Additional charging stations are planned for other locations around the plant.”

How about you, GM-Volt readers? We know a few of you are also keen on solar energy. For those who have actually installed solar panels, have they proven a good value? Have they paid for themselves yet? How long did it take, if so? Was the payback over a lengthy time span, reasonably quick, or have you yet to break even?

With developments and decreasing costs, do you agree more and more will see the value of solar, and go off the grid with their own array(s) as time passes?

Source: GM

This entry was posted on Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 36


  1. 1
    Mark Z

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    May 30th, 2011 (6:18 am)

    Showing solar arrays with Volt advertisement makes a clear statement to the buying public on how the car is powered. With electric rates rising, solar is a more attractive option than ever before. I will be examining the monthly charging cost with the second meter before adding solar panels on the roof.


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    DRBRUCE

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    May 30th, 2011 (6:45 am)

    I WOULD LOVE TO SEE MYSELF OFF THE GRID BUT THE EFFICIENCY IS STILL TO LOW AND THE ROI AVERAGES 10 YEARS. THE TECHNOLOGY WILL BE VASTLY DIFFERENT. I AM CHANGING MY BULBS TO LED’S AND I AM LOOKING AT A SOLAR AC WHICH IS MUCH CHEAPER AND FAST ROI. ALSO IN A HURRICANE I HAVE CERTAIN RESERVATIONS ABOUT MY ROOF SINCE I LIVE IN S. FLORIDA. ALSO I HAVE 3 LARGE SOLAR PANELS ($200 EACH) FOR SALE AS MY COMMUNITY WILL NOT LET ME PUT THEM UP


  3. 3
    pavers123

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    May 30th, 2011 (7:33 am)

    I looked into Solar, but for me it’s not yet practical (combination of cost + too much shade on my property). I wish I were in a position to get solar, but for the time being have to sit on the Solar sidelines with my Volt. If shading isn’t an issue for you (but but upfront capital for solar is an issue) you might look into of those companies that’ll install solar panels on your house and sell the energy back to you at a contracted fee. I tried that, but they said we have too much shade, and I’m not yet willing to cut down some of the beautiful 50 year old trees that keep our house cool.

    ***HOWEVER***, what I think is practical for just about any Volt owner (regardless of shading or capital) is to switch to a power company that supplies the grid with 100% renewable Wind Power. That’s what I did. I switch to cleansteps with Washington Gas Electric Services. What happens is that for every KWH on my monthly electric bill, Pepco (the main energy supplier in DC) bills me for the energy + distribution fees just like normal. I pay the bill, and Pepco keeps only the distribution fees since I’m no longer their customer. They then pass through the rest of my payment (ie. all the money I spent on electricity) to WGES. WGES in turn supplies the grid with an amount of wind generated electricity equivalent to what my house consumes.

    Bottom line: For every electric mile my Volt drives our nation’s wind energy infrastructure receives additional funding, as do the men and women working to support and engineer that infrastructure. Even better, since the Volt is using Wind Energy, it frees up coal and natural gas supplies for export overseas which goes even further to support our energy economy.

    My vanity license plates reflect this change as well:

    5775283433_cb7a876094_z.jpg

    Any Volt owner can do this as long as there’s a power company in your area that supplies the grid with 100% wind energy. Google it and find out.


  4. 4
    Dan Petit

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    May 30th, 2011 (7:49 am)

    Solar energy can be tasked for other things with even bigger returns. Yesterday and the day before, I installed 240 watts of solar power on top of the roof of my motorhome. This keeps the batteries from running down which results in circuity damage from low voltage. The cost was two dollars and ten cents a watt for excellent condition used panels that had to be removed from a home whose owners wanted a far larger and concentrated wattage array for the space available on their roof. These used panels are an extremely good deal. My friend, Maverick, runs a solar installation company here in Austin, and often has these exceptional deals. He also takes the time to make sure you do your small or large projects correctly. (He enjoyed seeing the clean installation of the panel I got from him which I installed on the Element.)

    The week before last, I placed one of these excellent value 60 watt panels on the 2010 Element roof rack. It provides ample power for printing out diagnostics reports in my seminars. It also has plenty of reserve power to run a thermoelectric cooler down to 27 degrees, since the wattage keeps the voltage at peak. Keeping hydrated in the Texas heat in these service bays that are hotter still is a pretty important task for the solar panel to run that cooler to keep liquids cold. (These thermoelectric coolers put out a harmonic that confuses the pulse width modulation of all vehicle charging systems, so they must be completely independently powered. Solar is perfect for that.)

    Next week I am going to use some really inexpensive panels (3 Amorphous 15 watt) to power some garden lights in the back yard around the periphery. So, there are lots and lots of small and interesting jobs you can do with good used solar panels. The ones with the really strong and rigid aluminum frames are the type I get. (Just set your DVOM on Amps, and for smaller panels below ten amps each, just put it in the sun, connect the leads to the output and measure the short circuit amps as long as the panel is rated below your DVOM internal fuse, of course.)

    (Old automotive batteries that can no longer run software in autos are going to be used as a stationary battery in this backyard lighting project before they get worn down completely, then they are turned in for core values). Solar panels in 12 volt systems still output about 20 volts peak, so they all must be properly regulated with either inexpensive analog regulators (around 28 bucks for 20 amps), to upwards of 100 bucks for pulse width modulated if there is no other regulated power available to that battery.


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    pjkPA

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    May 30th, 2011 (11:06 am)

    I’ve also looked into solar for my house and with the incentives.. the sales people are talking a 6 to 7 year payback. That means after 7 years you will be making money on your investment.

    The problem is coming up with the initial 41K … then waiting for the incentives.

    The other problem is… as soon as this incentive money is gone… the demand for solar will plummit… just like after the cash for clunkers government give away when car sales were hurt afterwards.

    Our government has to help American industry… something that is not happening enough.

    Our government seems to think that buying competitors products is a good thing.

    We have to build a solar mfr. base of American companies… we have to level the playing field for American mfrs. Right now we are supporting foreign companies while they keep us out of their markets…. this is not working and only sending dollars out of the US economy.


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    flmark

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    May 30th, 2011 (11:47 am)

    First, I am SOOOO sick and tired of reading the same old ‘payback’ argument. Whether you install a fireplace, a swimming pool or SOLAR PANELS, there is a percentage of payback the homeowner can expect from the next buyer. Solar panels are a HARD ASSET that INCREASES THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME!!!! You cannot simply do a cost per kwh and conclude anything! You already get back 30% from the feds. Then there may be state incentives, then there is the increase in property value (compared to utility bill expenditures which are gone forever). Yes, then there is the CURRENT kwh cost. And then there is the FUTURE costs of electricity (GUARANTEED TO GO UP). Most home improvements don’t do much worse than a 50% payback. Let’s see, 30% from feds + 50% retained value = 80% of cost. Your kwh calculations should START with only about 20% (assuming no state incentives).

    STOP AGONIZING OVER THE PAYBACK PERIOD. Just put up the panels and you’ll never pull out the calculator again.

    Next, for those who live in FL (and I assume other states might have some similar laws). No entity can tell you not to put up solar panels (government or home owners’s association). [Google 'Florida Solar Rights Act']

    Finally, living in any windy location is no excuse to NOT install solar. Code compliance will require attachment (in FL, it will be the Miami Dade 155 mph code) that should give you piece of mind. Your roof itself is guaranteed to do no better than the panels.

    I am sure I will have to write more later. But this is in response to what I have seen so far. I have 5kw at home and 13kw of solar at the office. I don’t even have a Volt yet. It is not just about dollars and cents anymore (or would we even be discussing the Volt?). Put in attic insulation, shift to LED bulbs, and install some solar- now.

    For lots of helpful suggestions and links, check out our ‘Go Green’ page-
    http://www.sensitivedentistry.net/green.html


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    J in MN

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    May 30th, 2011 (11:47 am)

    I installed a solar PV system 20 months ago. For me the payback came on the first day it was turned on, because that was the day I stopped using electricity made from coal.

    Financially, the money I save on electricity every month is significantly more than the return I was earning on that money while invested in mutual funds.


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    flyingfish

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    May 30th, 2011 (12:24 pm)

    DRBRUCE,

    DrBruce, your HOA can not prevent you from putting up PV cells, state law.

    I have 5 kw of thin film PV cells and will assure you they are not blowing off the metal roof. The roof may go, but meets Dade county requirements , so this is the least of my worries regarding hurricanes.

    I installed the system myself except the final electrical hookup. FPL and state requirement of certified electrician.

    The payback was only 2 years with rebate and tax credit , installed in Aug, 2008. My total house is electric and have not had an electrical charge since last fall except for cold Dec.

    Waiting for my chevy dealer to stock Volts!


  9. 9
    Jeff Cobb

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    May 30th, 2011 (12:33 pm)

    Thanks so far to everyone who’s given feedback. I’m reading every one of these. It helps me learn new things, and stay mindful of who the core audience is.

    Regards,

    Jeff


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    May 30th, 2011 (12:36 pm)

    Dan Petit,

    I have a 2003 Element 5-speed I bought new, and it now has 125,000 miles on it. Have a Thule roof rack on it, but never thought to install solar! Having a cooler in there and electricity might be handy. All I’ve done is buy a DC-AC inverter, and it makes me nervous powering my laptop with it. Not sure how reliable the inverter’s current supply is.


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    JeffB

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (12:40 pm)

    “The majority of miles driven by Volt customers are powered electrically by the Volt’s battery,” said Cristi Landy, Volt marketing director.

    After I read about the majority of the miles powered electrically, I was waiting for E85 to be mentioned since E85 has been criticized due to the availability of the fuel. Has anyone heard if GM is still planning to sell E85 Volts?


  12. 12
    Dan Petit

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (1:32 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Hi Jeff.

    Don’t use a cheap modified sine wave inverter to power your computer a/c charger, as that can burn out the charger in a few months. A one-amp five volt usb power port that plugs into the cigarette lighter is better.

    The roof rack on my Element is the factory one. I ran two lengths of thick 90 degree angle aluminum from the front roof rack span to the back span, bolted through the roof racks underneath. They are spaced apart based on the panels’ predrilled mounting holes in their frame underneath. (This one was two feet apart.) I mounted the 60 watt panel on top of those and in between the factory roof rack spans.
    The wire was easily routed under the roof panel (by removing that single 10mm bolt just under the top right corner under the hatch) and down under the hatch (outside of the weatherstrip), and under the rear right tail light assembly. (Leave a drip loop in the wire before it goes under the re-installed lense.) Drill one hole in the cavity which accommodates the lense, at the same height as the cargo area power port plug, and finish by poking the wire through to the rear power port and out into the rear cargo area.
    Make sure that there are no sharp edges of metal that will cut into the power lead from the panel by using a grommet with lots of silicone rubber seal, or a split length of rubber hose as a grommet, and then coat it all with lots of rubber silicone seal to keep the wire in place and to keep water out.
    If using an old battery, make sure you get a battery box and fasten it down with the hold downs that come with the battery box. I ran the 12 volt power through a 8.25 amp electric window motor circuit breaker, (I also put a five amp fuse/fuseholder in line for the solar panel input) and tucked the wire underneath the various interior panels. The center well between the seats is designed to have a thermoelectric cooler just sit down into it. This really works very well, and is quite a conversation piece everywhere I go. (There is some extra wind noise, but I don’t mind that at all.) (Not as good a conversation piece as a Volt, however.)


  13. 13
    George S. Bower

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (1:41 pm)

    flmark,

    Totally agree. but just so people can see another data point here it is:

    Installed 1/2010 so now have had system 16 months.

    System= 11, Sanyo 210 HIP panels (high kw/ft2 and guaranteed to be within a very close percentage of nameplate, PTC/namplate=.97)

    Inverters=Enphase microinverters, 1 per panel
    –these are good units as they give you visibility as to what EACH panel is putting out. It’s all on the internet.

    Retail system cost=20000$
    Fed rebate=6000
    state rebate=1000
    APS rebate=6930
    ———————–
    net =6070$
    Installed $/kwh=2.63$/watt

    Note: APS rebate now is only about half of when I purchased.

    Avg yield over 1 yr=5 hrs/ day=4216 kwh/yr
    Cost of electricity amortized over 20 years=6000/4216X20= 7 cents/kwh

    Am I happy w/ system=yes
    Am I happy w/ what I payed =yes
    Would I do it again if the APS rebate was as low as it is now==????

    Lessons learned= Push yourself and install as big a system as possible assuming you are OK w/ the price.

    Net metering = yes
    TOU=no

    Note: Net metering gets wiped clean at the end of the calender year at which time APS pays me around 7 cents/kwh for all the electricity I have banked. Consult your utility as to how it will work for you.

    The way I look at the numbers is that I have essentially locked in the price of my electricity at 7 cents/kwh. I’m paying 11 cents now and it’s going NOWHERE BUT HIGHER.


  14. 14
    Jeff Cobb

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (1:52 pm)

    Dan Petit,

    Hi Dan,

    That setup sounds very clever. I wish I had the tech knowledge you did and I’d do such things more often myself. Would an air dam reduce aerodynamic turbulence and noise?

    At this point, I’m happy my car has been paid for for years and only hope to keep it in good working order. I have used Mobil 1 full synthetic since about when it hit 12,000 miles, and never skimp on tires or parts if needed.

    Maybe next vehicle I get I’d look into something like you have done.

    Is this Belkin device a recommended power port suitable for my Apple Macbook?

    Thanks,

    Jeff


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    Dan Petit

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (2:04 pm)

    Belkin products are outstanding. The thing about using a one amp 5 volt USB power port that plugs into the cigarette lighter is that even though your computer is using more than the one amp, the runtime *may* be extended a lot more. (USB will not charge it, because that socket is disconnected when the unit is turned off).

    BTW, the first 2005 Element I had sold for 12,000 dollars last October, and I paid 18,800 for it five and a half years earlier.
    I had put a 36 watt panel on it which clinched the sale at that higher resale value, and also because I used Mobil 1 exclusively and kept it garaged.

    Solar power properly installed does indeed increase the market value of most things where there are compelling tasks that solar can do very well.

    The extra noise is coming from underneath the panel and is caused by the air turbulence at the junction box at the passenger side end.
    The driver side end is just noticeable, so the junction box area will get some further attention. The panel has to be left open underneath so that heat does not build up excessively. The fix will be easy, but I have to think about several inexpensive approaches and try them out.


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    Jeff Cobb

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (2:31 pm)

    Dan Petit,

    I see. If you ever have a photo or two of your solar innovations, I’d be interested to see what you have done.

    I’ll buy the Belkin usb product. Thanks for the tip.

    Jeff


  17. 17
    Dan Petit

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (3:02 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Jeff,
    Find out if your computer has an internal blocking diode at the usb port. That would be there to block an overvoltage input from a higher voltage source (or even a 5 volt source). Some reps in electronic stores might know if this is the case. Just ask “Will this usb power adapter help my runtime of my laptop?”


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    hvacman

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    May 30th, 2011 (3:03 pm)

    Though it may look “cool” to recharge an EV directly off the PV system, this is not smart use of grid-connected PV power, especially in the summer. PV power is best used to power devices on the grid that HAVE to be on during peak daylight hours. The huge advantage of EV’s is that they can recharge at night when the grid demand is low. With TOU rates, it makes more economic sense, too. Sell the PV power to the grid at $0.25/kWh and buy it back to recharge at night for $0.07.


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    DonC

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (3:07 pm)

    flmark: First, I am SOOOO sick and tired of reading the same old ‘payback’ argument. Whether you install a fireplace, a swimming pool or SOLAR PANELS, there is a percentage of payback the homeowner can expect from the next buyer. Solar panels are a HARD ASSET that INCREASES THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME!!!! You cannot simply do a cost per kwh and conclude anything!

    STOP AGONIZING OVER THE PAYBACK PERIOD. Just put up the panels and you’ll never pull out the calculator again.

    I’m good with the conclusion but the analogy to a fireplace or swimming pool isn’t that on point. Those things you can actively enjoy (or not). You don’t really enjoy a PV system. It just sits on the roof, out of sight and out of mind, and generates power that is no different than the power you’d buy from the power company.

    There is come pleasure to be derived from knowing you have solar but really only for the environmentally inclined and/or the techno-nerds. (I’m there buddy so no offense intended).

    I think people should do the payback analysis. I wouldn’t make such an analysis the be-all and end-all but it’s useful. There is something to be said for waiting. The advances in wiring and microinverters are exciting, raising the question as to how fast prices will fall. Where I am they didn’t fall that much in 2009 but dropped significantly in 2010. Not sure about 2011. In any event, different people will have different takes on when they’d buy. Where I am, I believe you’d see huge demand if the installed price before the federal rebate dropped to $3/watt.


  20. 20
    Dan Petit

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (3:10 pm)

    I had heard that utilities pay wholesale for grid input wattage. Slowing your meter down at retail may be the stronger consideration if that is the case. That would certainly be the argument for a better time of use price for wattage, but it would be interesting to know which utilities provide time of use discounts at night time charging times.


  21. 21
    DonC

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    May 30th, 2011 (3:12 pm)

    hvacman: Though it may look “cool” to recharge an EV directly off the PV system, this is not smart use of grid-connected PV power, especially in the summer.

    Yes. I think BTW that when someone says “I charge my Volt from my PV system” the statement is intended as more allegorical than literal. Most times they will have a grid tie system.


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    George S. Bower

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (3:23 pm)

    Dan,

    Those are some cool little projects for sure. I like the low cost nature. Finding some used panels is definitely a cool way to go.

    Once I saw a write up on a DIY low cost panel. The guy bot his own cells, then made the panels himself and saved a few bucks. I didn’t save the link.

    Just to share another DIY project:

    I made an emergency power unit out of 2 deep cycle 6 volt batteries. each battery is 1 kwh. I bot a 2500 watt 110v inverter (the cheap ones not true sine) and also a 220 V inverter (for my well pump) and mounted them all on a welded up cart on wheels. I think the 2 inverters were around 500$ each and the batteries around 100$ each. If the power goes out I have power for my refrig for around 12 hrs. Usually though , when the power goes out, I use the power for all my electronics ie, internet and TV (the fridge is good for 8 hrs or so w/o power because of the frozen food).

    I also have a 2000ev watt Honda Gen set that is variable speed so it is quiet and fuel efficient. So, when the power goes out, I plug in my inverters first and have silent back up, and if the power stays off longer than my batts will last I have the little Honda as backup.

    Kind of ironic that my fancy solar system on my house will not work when the grid goes down. I opted for no battery back up on that system due to cost and just did as explained above. A little bit mickey mouse but lower cost. and it doesn’t get used enough. That’s why I like it when the power goes out—I get to use my toys. (To bad I don’t live in Florida).


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    George

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    May 30th, 2011 (3:35 pm)

    How about automatically building the solar panels directly onto the hood and roof (and even sides) of the vehicles at the factory?

    Regards, George, Sudbury, Canada…..go Volt!!


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    Steverino

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (4:01 pm)

    Just watched “Transcendent Man” about Ray Kurzweil, inventor an futurist. Among other things, he claims solar technology is increasing on an exponential curve and predicts that solar will be competitive with coal within 5 years. He also correctly predicted the year when a computer would beat a human at chess, among many other notable achievements.


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    Paul

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (4:54 pm)

    We would love to have solar panels to power our whole house and our Volt. Had the plans drawn, money saved, everything was good to go.. except for our HOA. They denied installing solar panels. No one has been getting them approved and most HOAs in TEXAS deny them. They CAN do this currently in TEXAS, unlike CA and other more forward thinking states. They almost got the law passed last year and they are trying again this year, but hasn’t been signed yet. The state insentives ran out early, so likely will not be a viable option even if we get the green light until more insentives are added. Crossing fingers that the HOAs are stripped of this power in TEXAS.


  26. 26
    Dan Petit

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    May 30th, 2011 (5:07 pm)

    George,
    Modified sine are ok for resistive loads like lights, heaters, cooking appliances that do not have sensitive electronics (watch out for that coffee maker’s clock).
    Electric motors want to ramp up with the smooth curve of pure sine wave, but many are ok with modified, such as drills and shop tools that do not get used all that much.
    Panels do weigh a lot, so while it is not a good idea to place them on cars and trucks, if you have a really important job purpose for that very critically needed and regularly-used energy, (and if it is enough energy), then solar fills many purposes.

    This last sentence reminds me once again of the Leaf. Have any of you seen how small the solar panel is on the Leaf? If I remember correctly, it was about nine by twelve inches, and had what looked like about ten magnifying glasses in the lense. (Perhaps the magnifying glasses could imprecisely allow for a claim that these cells were super efficient, but boy are they going to get burned out quickly.)

    I also recall that in one of the briefing cubicles that were set up to begin teaching the public, the representative stated that they “were good for a few miles”.

    ***A FEW MILES????*** Perhaps over the lifetime of the cells, but certainly not every day or even every month. I thought that statement was really patently dishonest also, (in addition to the ruined Leaf commercial we just talked about.)

    GM is getting earned recognition for doing solar correctly.


  27. 27
    Dan Petit

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    May 30th, 2011 (5:32 pm)

    I ought to dust off my 35 mm camera and shoot some pics of the solar installs. It will take me a while to get to that for the last project, but it is certainly on the list of things to do.


  28. 28
    Sonoma Richard

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    May 30th, 2011 (6:55 pm)

    We installed a 7kW system three years ago. Just passed 40,000 kW produced so far. We were spending over $250 per month for electricity alone. Today it would be closer to $400 a month because of much higher rates. It seems like there is a rate increase every five to six months. I calculate that we are “earning” about 6% on our investment.

    We have had our Volt for five months. We charge it around midnight for 3 1/2 hours at 240. While we use more kW than we produce, we “sell” power during the high cost hours and use most electricity at lower cost night time. We have not paid for electricity for the past three years and for the past five months we have produced enough to cover the Volt’s demand as well.

    We are saving around $250 to $300 per month on gasoline. Our Volt payments are $500 per month. We are running around 188 MPG lifetime.
    The math works out pretty well for us.


  29. 29
    George S. Bower

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (8:16 pm)

    Jeff,
    I would like to send you a PM. The best thing would be for you to give me your email in a PM in the forum. I just want to suggest something,
    Thx,
    GSB


  30. 30
    Eco_Turbo

     

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    May 30th, 2011 (8:54 pm)

    JeffB: Has anyone heard if GM is still planning to sell E85 Volts?

    This handout was given out in Raleigh in Oct 2010 at the Progress energy test drive…

    Volt_Autonotes.jpghttp:

    Here’s an excerpt from a page in this handout…

    Volt_E-85.jpghttp:

    My guess is the Volt’s they’re selling now are E-85 capable.


  31. 31
    MrEnergyCzar

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    May 30th, 2011 (11:52 pm)

    While preparing for Peak Oil the last 4 years, I converted my home to a net-zero solar powered home that uses no oil or gas. I planned the solar array to power the home completely plus move the Volt about 5,000 miles per year (1800 KWH). The day the solar array was approved and activated, the value of my home went up by the price of the solar array. I should finally get the Volt this summer. I have the next allocation at local dealer.

    MrEnergyCzar


  32. 32
    william loperfido

     

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    May 31st, 2011 (12:29 pm)

    DRBRUCE,

    Florida has a law allowing you to install solar panels on your property to meet their renewable energy targets, regardless of what your home owners association like or does not like. Call your city hall, The herald, Sun Sentinal or FPL to ask for some help. Maybe Google can be of some help.


  33. 33
    jim1961

     

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    Jun 1st, 2011 (4:45 am)

    George: How about automatically building the solar panels directly onto the hood and roof (and even sides) of the vehicles at the factory?

    Regards, George, Sudbury, Canada…..go Volt!!

    Fisker Automotive will have solar PV on the roof of the upcoming Karma plug-in hybrid. Fisker claims the solar panel will increase the range by 200 miles per year in a sunny climate. That’s about one-half mile per day. It would be much more practical and cost effective to install solar on your house to offset the energy to charge an EV. Not only can you have a much larger array of solar PV but those panels can be tilted toward the sun for greater efficiency.


  34. 34
    sgc

     

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    Jun 2nd, 2011 (1:47 pm)

    In March I posted started a thread on leasing a PV system, but no had experience yet with this approach to getting PV system installed….

    Has anyone had any experience with or can recommend leasing solar panels to charge your EV?
    It seems like a good idea, just like businesses lease their expensive equipment.
    Here are the sites I have found so far on the topic:

    http://www.solarcity.com/residential/solar-lease.aspx

    http://www.sungevity.com/solar-lease

    http://www.solarchargeddriving.com/g…alif-firm.html


  35. 35
    Christof

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (1:28 am)

    Paul,

    Sorry to hear about another backward HOA in a state without a solar rights provision law. 20 states do have solar rights provisions, though — http://www.dsireusa.org/solar/summarymaps/

    Can’t wait to see more on the list, including, hopefully Texas.

    Got a 5.59 kW system up on our Colorado roof since last June — and we live in an HOA. Our HOA approved our application, but, of course, we have a solar rights provision in Colorado, so HOAs can’t deny solar applications, though they can request modifications.


  36. 36
    Christof

     

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    Jun 6th, 2011 (1:37 am)

    Actual out of pocket costs for a home solar system vary wildly from state to state, and even within states, from utility to utility. So don’t assume that solar is “expensive” and stop there.

    Solar might be “too expensive”, if you live in a solar unfriendly state/utility area. Then again, you might be lucky — as we were.

    SolarPowerRocks.Com is a good source for comparing solar incentives as is DSIREUSA.ORG, a database on renewable energy incentives put together by North Carolina State U.

    We installed a 5.59 kW solar system in June 2010 in Aurora, Colo. — and paid $8,000 out of pocket ($3.40 per watt Xcel Energy rebate, 30% Fed Tax Credit, $500 City of Aurora solar rebate).

    While we’re waiting for plug-ins to actually arrive in Colorado, we’ve managed to bank 5,000 kWh of solar over-production with our utility Xcel Energy. That’s well over $2,000 worth of “gasoline” ($3.50 gallon, 25 mpg, 3.5 miles per kWh)

    For us, at least, going solar will pay off very quickly, especially when you factor in gasoline replacement costs — if only we could get those danged EVs to finally show up in Colorado. ;-)

    –Christof Demont-Heinrich
    Editor & Founder, SolarChargedDriving.Com