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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Independence: Plug Into The Sun

My ActiveE with the rooftop solar array that produces all the energy I need to power it in the background
Independence Day as defined by Wikipedia: "Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain."

Independent as defined by Merriam Webster: "Not subject to control by others; Not requiring or relying on something else"

Personal transportation energy independence as defined by me: Driving a fully electric car that is powered by sunlight captured on your rooftop solar array. 

For over three years now I've been powering my electric cars with electricity generated by my rooftop solar array. Alone, both electric cars and solar electric are worth while on their own merits, but once you combine them the synergy created really makes them both better and even more worth the investment. Using solar electric to power your car makes it truly a zero emission vehicle, while using the electric you produce to displace purchasing gasoline gives it an even greater value than if you simply used it to power lights in your home.

A typical electric car can drive about 4 miles per kWh used. My solar array produces an average of about 30kWh's every day of the year. That will power an EV about 120 miles. If you have a gas car that gets 30mpg, which is much higher than the average car gets, it would need 4 gallons of gas to drive 120 miles. At today's gas prices that would cost about $15.00. That's $5,500 worth of gas per year at today's price. Gas prices fluctuate, but eventually they always go up. The sun will always be free. Sure, there was an initial investment for the solar array, but with my savings I'll be cash positive in about 8 years and the array's lifespan is about 30 years.

Then there is a great feeling knowing you are not dependent on big oil for your personal transportation. This Independence Day when I sit down to a nicely grilled steak, some farm fresh corn and open a bottle of beer, I'll certainly be celebrating our nations Independence as I always do. However for the third year now I'll also be celebrating my independence from oil. I'll take a second to reflect on that as I plug in my ActiveE tomorrow at about noon, just as my array will be generating peak power and the first of friends and family arrive at my house to celebrate the holiday(s). I hope everyone reading this has the opportunity to drive an electric car that is powered by the sun sometime soon, it's a combination you will love, I promise you. Happy Independence Day everyone! 


  1. Tom, Happy Independence Day ! Enjoy the July 4th too! This year will be my first Independence Day celebration with my 4.6 kWh system and my Active E
    Eddie B

    1. Congratulations Eddie! It really is great isn't it? I get great satisfaction knowing I was able to help you join the EV + PV revolution!

  2. Hello I am a student of the high school of macareignes in Mauritius and I want to know if I can use your logo of the solar car for a school project final non-profit review on our website, thank you in advance.