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Old 08-06-2012, 09:48 PM
 
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How long would it take to recoup the costs? A regular car would go for say $22-25k, while the leaf is $27k+. Would it be worth it to get free electricity from the sun and also use to to freely power your vehicle?
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:32 PM
 
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I think so. I ran some quick numbers, it looks like you could break even in about 10 to 15 years depending on the state you live in and the government subsidiaries available to you. I assume the following:

- You drive 12000 miles/year.
- Gasoline averages $3.50.
- You live in the north east.
- The traditional car averages 30mpg.
- You net $0 from SRECs.

If you drive more than 12000 miles/year, you'll recoup faster. If gasoline prices rise, you'll recoup faster. If you live in a state like Arizona, you'll recoup faster. After you recoup, you'll be driving for free... that's where the real benefits come in.
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fibonacci View Post
Would it be worth it to get free electricity from the sun and also use to to freely power your vehicle?

In what world do you live in that you think the electric from solar panels is free? There is reason solar panels are not used extensively like coal, it's because they cost more per kWh and that's all costs inclusive like the coal itself.
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
I think so. I ran some quick numbers, it looks like you could break even in about 10 to 15 years depending on the state you live in and the government subsidiaries available to you. I assume the following:

- You drive 12000 miles/year.
- Gasoline averages $3.50.
- You live in the north east.
- The traditional car averages 30mpg.
- You net $0 from SRECs.

If you drive more than 12000 miles/year, you'll recoup faster. If gasoline prices rise, you'll recoup faster. If you live in a state like Arizona, you'll recoup faster. After you recoup, you'll be driving for free... that's where the real benefits come in.
But, will a Leaf last more than 10-15 years? And do you want to drive a car for more than 15 years in order to recoup your costs? The answer for most people is No.

As far as solar panels are concerned, they need to be replaced multiple times in a 15 year time frame. It's a technology that needs some work before the panels have the longevity needed for cost recovery.
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Originally Posted by UNC4Me View Post
... As far as solar panels are concerned, they need to be replaced multiple times in a 15 year time frame. It's a technology that needs some work before the panels have the longevity needed for cost recovery.
Perhaps you are confusing solar panels with batteries.

Replacing solar panels multiple times in 15-years? I have neighbors who live off-grid using solar panels and they do not need replacing even after a decade.



The 'problem' with using solar to recharge an automobile, is the losses that occur with each transfer of energy. My Dw has been very interested in this topic so we have looked into it a bit.

Power from a solar panel going directly into a battery will lose a percentage in the process.

You can install an invertor/charge-controller to help with the process [google MPPT: Max Power Point Tracking Charge-controllers]. But even as a black-box doing it's magic it induces even more losses.

Once energy is stored in a house battery, you could plug your vehicle in at night to recharge the vehicle. But energy going from one battery into another battery will again suffer losses in the process.

From solar panel to vehicle you would be doing really good if you got 50% of the energy into the vehicle.



Consider the Prius now that is offered with a roof solar panel, it does no more than operate a vent fan. The panel is too small to generate enough wattage to do anything else.



We are in the process now of installing solar power for our home, which is why I know about the charge-controllers.
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Submariner View Post
Perhaps you are confusing solar panels with batteries.

Replacing solar panels multiple times in 15-years? I have neighbors who live off-grid using solar panels and they do not need replacing even after a decade.



The 'problem' with using solar to recharge an automobile, is the losses that occur with each transfer of energy. My Dw has been very interested in this topic so we have looked into it a bit.

Power from a solar panel going directly into a battery will lose a percentage in the process.

You can install an invertor/charge-controller to help with the process [google MPPT: Max Power Point Tracking Charge-controllers]. But even as a black-box doing it's magic it induces even more losses.

Once energy is stored in a house battery, you could plug your vehicle in at night to recharge the vehicle. But energy going from one battery into another battery will again suffer losses in the process.

From solar panel to vehicle you would be doing really good if you got 50% of the energy into the vehicle.



Consider the Prius now that is offered with a roof solar panel, it does no more than operate a vent fan. The panel is too small to generate enough wattage to do anything else.



We are in the process now of installing solar power for our home, which is why I know about the charge-controllers.
Your neighbor's experience has been different than mine. They've had to replace the panels twice in the last 8 years. Once due to hail damage and once due to warping (they think caused by large temperature swings). I think solar panels make sense in some parts of the country and in others not so much.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNC4Me View Post
But, will a Leaf last more than 10-15 years? And do you want to drive a car for more than 15 years in order to recoup your costs? The answer for most people is No.

As far as solar panels are concerned, they need to be replaced multiple times in a 15 year time frame. It's a technology that needs some work before the panels have the longevity needed for cost recovery.
It works even if you go through multiple Leafs because if you're going to get a new leaf every 5 years, chances are that you'll get a new gasoline vehicle every 5 years. That additional cost is constant among both scenarios so it cancels out.

Solar panels last at least 40 years and are warrantied for 25 years. We have solar panels at the university that were installed in the 70s that never had to be replaced. Modern solar panels are more resilient.

Again, the value depends on your location. I live in NJ where we don't get nearly as much sun as Arizona. But I have about 2.1 acres of solar panels that cost me $6000 thanks to government incentives. It's a no brainer.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:14 AM
 
Location: DC
6,496 posts, read 6,410,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNC4Me View Post
As far as solar panels are concerned, they need to be replaced multiple times in a 15 year time frame. It's a technology that needs some work before the panels have the longevity needed for cost recovery.
This is just wrong. Modern solar panels should have a >20 year life.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:15 AM
 
Location: DC
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Better to charge the Leaf with grid connected wind than solar.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Full time RV"er
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fibonacci View Post
How long would it take to recoup the costs? A regular car would go for say $22-25k, while the leaf is $27k+. Would it be worth it to get free electricity from the sun and also use to to freely power your vehicle?
While I can't speaak for the Leaf, I am in the process of solving both problem for my self . Being a retired auto body man, loving the old ( 30's -40's )cars, I am building 1932 chevy 4 dr sedan street rod that will be all electric, Solar roof panels, lithem battery, and 2 high output alternators driven by both of the axel shafts. By combining all 3 power gereration sources I figure I can and will try to drive it cross country, without having to do any refueling ! day or night, and yes I will gladly drive it for 15 yrs then give it to my grand children. My bigest problem is making it sound like a street rod.
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