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Solar Energy and Electric Vehicles – On Track to Low Carbon

Combining Solar Energy and EV Charning to Fast Track to a Low Carbon Lifestyle

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the nation’s transportation and electricity sectors account for over half (approximately 57%) of the total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Interestingly, the EPA analysis concludes they are essentially equal contributors, with each representing nearly 28% of the total. Industry and the manufacturing of goods is the third most significant contributor.

For homeowners wanting to reduce daily environmental impact, there is good news in this data.

Today, choices exist for individuals and families to reduce the use of electricity generated from sources emitting GHG. Many homeowners are adding solar energy to their homes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, thanks to improving policy and affordable technology.

There are choices to significantly reduce and even eliminate the personal burning of fuels for roadway travel. Electric Vehicle (EV) models are expanding and costs are coming down year after year.

Making wise and educated choices about foods to consume or products to use with carbon emissions in mind is getting easier, too. The fast moving trend to reduce plastic bag usage is one example that reduces both the manufacturing impact and the problems with disposal.

Even better, options to personally reduce GHG impact will save money quickly and continue to lower personal expenses over a longer period time.

Solar Energy Reduces Net Power Purchases

The less electricity you buy from the utility, the more you will save. Generating power with a rooftop solar energy system can save tens of thousands of dollars in avoided energy purchases across 25, 30, or more years . To learn more about solar electric (PV), visit our How It Works Page. To understand more about how you save, visit our Calculating Solar Savings page {page link} There is a good reason many use the cliché that “solar pays for itself.”

Electric Vehicles Reduce Net Gas and Oil Usage

Similar to solar energy, EVs now save the buyer money from the start and throughout the life of the car. There are more brands and models than ever. In fact, some recent milestones and trends prove the market is growing strongly.

Nissan sells over 400,000 Leafs, an all electric car.

Ford adds 900 jobs to a second plant in expanding EV production.

Carmakers are predicting $300 billion or more over the next 5 to 10 years to further develop EVs.

As purchase costs come down, operating costs improve, too. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has created a fuel equivalency calculator. While it is more complicated to compare different financing costs, it is well know that EVs enjoy reduced maintenance costs without the combustion engine. But by far, the greatest savings come from no longer buying fuel. Therefore, the DOE compares the equivalent fueling costs.

For example, consider someone owning a fuel efficient car getting an average 30 MPG. The gasoline cost on average in Pennsylvania for every 10,000 miles traveled will be over $790 per year. According to the EPA, the equivalent cost to charge a typical EV in the state for the same use would be $425 per year. Better yet, electricity prices tend to be more stable and predictable, even though history proves they incrementally increase over time. Gasoline prices are much more volatile throughout the seasons and depending on global events.

Solar Power Plus Electric Vehicles

Exact Solar is getting more requests to combine solarizing a home with EV charging. By designing a solar energy system with a current or future EV purchase in mind, a buyer can maximize both the savings from the utility power avoided and the gasoline left in the stations’ tanks. Appropriately sizing the solar energy system means effectively charging with clean energy, too. GHG impact is greatest.

Whether a solar buyer is certain and ready about converting to EVs, it is important to consider solar design options to make a transition easy. Make sure to mention your plans or simply ask about it early in the process.

Benefits of Solar Energy Plus EV Charging

Beyond saving on fuel, every time an EV is charged and offset by an equivalent amount of generated solar energy, GHG emissions are effectively reduced. Most current EV models require between 30 kWh and 35 kWh of charging energy for every 100 miles traveled. For the previous 10,000 mile hypothetical, that is approximately as much as 3,500 kWh.

In Pennsylvania that 3,500 kWh could come with some significant GHG emissions. According to the Energy Information Agency within the DOE the PA energy mix in 2018 was:

Source Proportion
Oil, Coal, Natural Gas sourced 56%
Nuclear sourced 39%
All other clean sources 5%

In New Jersey that 3,500 kWh would come from this energy mix:

Source Proportion
Oil, Coal, Natural Gas sourced 53%
Nuclear sourced 44%
All other clean sources 3%

These numbers represent power generated within each state. Because all states share energy within the region’s grid, exact amounts are difficult to pin down. However, it is clear that around half or more of the energy used by EV charging without solar offset would produce GHG emissions.

Because the energy mix in the these two adjacent states is not moving quickly enough to decarbonize, Exact Solar is prepared to help any homeowner take matters into their own hands and individually do their part.