Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Cool! Electric car + photovoltaic system
Old 05-14-2008, 08:03 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ladelfina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,713
Cool! Electric car + photovoltaic system

Running on Empty: Cars That Never Need Gas> In Your Community > We Can Do It > Sierra Club

He is in (we assume fairly sunny) CA, but still...
__________________

__________________
ladelfina is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-14-2008, 08:18 PM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 961
Sounds Great.

I believe that the only drawback for common folk would be the price of $45,000 big ones.

If the cars were less expensive I could see buying one.

God Bless Us All
__________________

__________________
War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow. - Martin Luther King Jr.
Seek peace, and pursue it. - Psalms 34:14
Be kind to unkind people - they need it the most - by Ashleigh Brilliant.
Wags is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2008, 08:52 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Something sounds very screwy here. I only looked at the first case study--the guy claims that 5 years ago he paid $45,000 to get his electric vehicle AND the PV system that is on the roof of his garage. He also claims that this PV system powers his whole house and his car. He claims the loan he took out to pay for all this has monthly payments less than his previous electric and gas bills, so his payback period was zero.

I'll bet the hemp wearing crowd is shouting ""stick it to the man!" already.

I didn't do the whole $$ per watt math, but the numbers do not sound right.
If we assume the car cost was $25k, then the amount he spent onthe PV system (panels, batteries, inverter, controller, wiring, installation, etc) was $20k.

From another site (Solar Photovoltaic Industry Cost and Price Trends) I read:

"Typical kWh usage by homes in three selected US average homes is shown below. For example, in a Sacramento, California home, it would cost around $16-$20,000 . . . to satisfy around 25% of that home's energy needs." (emphasis added)

So, if this is right (and it sounds close), then it seems very unlikely that a $20K PV system is running a normal home AND providing all the juice he needs for his car. He's either not being honest, or the only lights in his house come from hand-cranked LED flashlights, or his costs were reduced by subsidies--probably provided by taxpayers. I suspect the answer is subsidies. That's something not mentioned in the article, and it is a significant point. Especially as the guy is bashing the tax gimmies given to oil companies.

"I can't hear you, brother. Pull your snout out of the trough for a minute and say that again."
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-14-2008, 09:03 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
HFWR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Lawn chair in Texas
Posts: 12,964
My 2007 usage was around 12.7kwh, mostly for A/C in the summer. Water heating and furnace are natgas.
__________________
Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
HFWR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 02:33 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rambler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,250
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Something sounds very screwy here. I only looked at the first case study--the guy claims that 5 years ago he paid $45,000 to get his electric vehicle AND the PV system that is on the roof of his garage. He also claims that this PV system powers his whole house and his car. He claims the loan he took out to pay for all this has monthly payments less than his previous electric and gas bills, so his payback period was zero.

I'll bet the hemp wearing crowd is shouting ""stick it to the man!" already.

I didn't do the whole $$ per watt math, but the numbers do not sound right.
If we assume the car cost was $25k, then the amount he spent onthe PV system (panels, batteries, inverter, controller, wiring, installation, etc) was $20k.

From another site (Solar Photovoltaic Industry Cost and Price Trends) I read:

"Typical kWh usage by homes in three selected US average homes is shown below. For example, in a Sacramento, California home, it would cost around $16-$20,000 . . . to satisfy around 25% of that home's energy needs." (emphasis added)

So, if this is right (and it sounds close), then it seems very unlikely that a $20K PV system is running a normal home AND providing all the juice he needs for his car. He's either not being honest, or the only lights in his house come from hand-cranked LED flashlights, or his costs were reduced by subsidies--probably provided by taxpayers. I suspect the answer is subsidies. That's something not mentioned in the article, and it is a significant point. Especially as the guy is bashing the tax gimmies given to oil companies.

"I can't hear you, brother. Pull your snout out of the trough for a minute and say that again."
Yeah, something smells fishy. We paid 75k after incentives for our PV system (four years ago, no car included). The 10kw system produces roughly 17,900kwh per year, enough to provide all our power needs, so either he lives in a shed with no refrigeration or heat, or we have some Pinocchio going on...and I am an advocate of PV (also and advocate of truth in advertising).

R
__________________
Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 02:37 AM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rambler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,250
Quote:
Originally Posted by HFWR View Post
My 2007 usage was around 12.7kwh, mostly for A/C in the summer. Water heating and furnace are natgas.
Maybe that's why you could RE...12.7kwh costs around one dollar, at $0.08 per kwh... Did you mean 12,700kwh?

R
__________________
Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 05:50 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,038
I find it interesting that the electric car crowd often advertises the fact that the car is electric on the car itself. Obviously part of their goal is to show how great they are to others. If their numbers donít work out it doesnít matter because they have an electric car. See, it says so on the rear window!

I burn about $3K worth of gas a year. Even for me the payoff is never on these things.
__________________
In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.
Lazarus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 06:37 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,666
There are a number of people that simply want to show people that it can indeed be done.
There is so much bad information out there that all EVs are oversized golf carts. And of course, it is fairly new tech on the road. We still haven't broken through to the mass production, but the more people that see it can be done (by seeing an EV on the road) the more EVs we will see.
As for usage, I am a bit surprised at those numbers as well.
However, it is quite possible this guy got a great deal on panels, uses less energy than average or his electric costs for grid electricity is a lot higher.
__________________
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
(Ancient Indian Proverb)"
Zathras is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 07:39 AM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 401
I haven't priced out home solar systems at all. I was just curious, at what point will home solar systems be mass produced and marketed at an affordable price?...and there would be companies available to install them for the average consumer? (say, $10,000 or less for a system that would create enough electricity to run the average house and cover most of their electricity usage, assuming an area of the country that is fairly sunny) Are systems like this available now? At what cost?
__________________
DallasGuy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 07:53 AM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,281
Well, he does not give much for numbers. just that $45,000 and something about a $70/month loan to pay for the solar panels. He says his payback on solar was immediate, because his loan was no more than his electric bill.


Quote:
But the short answer for the solar pay-back, he says, was "the instant I turned my system on." Dickey had been paying $75 a month for electricity. He took a loan out to buy the PV system, and pays $70 a month toward that loan. "My electricity and gasoline bills are now zero, and next year when my loan is paid off, this investment will be paying me probably for the rest of my life. My PV system covers the power for my home and my car. It displaces $90 worth of electricity and over $100 worth of gasoline every month. So my estimate of how long until the system pays for itself is no time at all!"
OK, he does not give the loan terms, and the comment about the loan being paid off next year - is he prepaying, or was the loan term just 6 years (he said he bought the stuff 5 years ago)? I'll assume prepaying (he should start a thread here ' Should I prepay my Solar Panel Loan?') . Well, at 6% and 30 years, the most you can finance at $70/month is about $12,0000. I don't think that buys you much power, even after rebates (did he thank us for paying him to brag how 'green' he is?).

I think he's holding back. I'm betting he actually has a small water tank in that car, and he generates just enough solar power to start up a resonant circuit to break the water down into hydrogen and oxygen, and he powers the car on that!

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 08:26 AM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,281
Quote:
Originally Posted by DallasGuy View Post
I haven't priced out home solar systems at all. I was just curious, at what point will home solar systems be mass produced and marketed at an affordable price?...and there would be companies available to install them for the average consumer? (say, $10,000 or less for a system that would create enough electricity to run the average house and cover most of their electricity usage, assuming an area of the country that is fairly sunny) Are systems like this available now? At what cost?
Well, here's a bit of info:

On Grid Calculator at the Alternative Energy Store

From that, if we assume $.12/KWH in CA, the guys $90/month electric usage is ~ 750KW. And that site says you need ~ 6KW of panels to provide that. ~ $25,000 for the panels on that site, plus inverter, installation, etc. Over $4/watt. IIRC, Nords cut that almost in half, but that included a lot of scrounging and sweat equity.

It takes over 9KW of panels for that power in the Chicago area. Even at the promises of $1/watt solar panels 'real soon now', it's not exactly a no-brainer.

These guys always ignore the fact that a solar panel takes a lot of energy to manufacture. It takes about 2 years of full solar production to offset the energy to manufacture it. So for two years, these guys are still burning fossils fuel. And since solar requires so much energy to produce, I imagine the prices will be rising along with fuel costs.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 08:48 AM   #12
Moderator
ziggy29's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 15,612
I think a lot of people are missing the point, or at least part of it. Yes, on the cutting edge the "payoff" approaches "never" for a lot of people. You could buy a $5000 old guzzling beater and you'd still come out ahead after 10 years, maybe 20.

But as future development costs come down, we may start seeing economies of scale making these things actually competitive if not a compelling buy. Yeah, they don't make much sense to buy now for most people, but it's worth keeping an eye on, since you don't know what the cost will be in a few years when it's time to buy a new car.
__________________
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
ziggy29 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 09:13 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
HFWR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Lawn chair in Texas
Posts: 12,964
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
Maybe that's why you could RE...12.7kwh costs around one dollar, at $0.08 per kwh... Did you mean 12,700kwh?

R
"Math is hard." Barbie

Yes, I stand corrected, though my rate is more like $0.14 per kwh...
__________________
Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
HFWR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 09:14 AM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,281
ziggy - It seems to make more sense to install these on a municipal, or neighborhood level. One plant feeding 1,000 homes over the installed grid, versus 1,000 installations, each requiring climbing on a roof, customization to get mounting brackets at the correct angle, aesthetic issues, and the need for a licensed electrician for each install. From nanosolar:

Municipal Solar Power Plants Goal for Nanosolar

Nanosolar - Articles

Quote:
At Nanosolar, we believe very much that meaningful scale for solar will come foremost from utility-scale solar power plants, in particular from municipal solar power plants of 2-10MW in size. These are rows of solar panels mounted onto the ground of free fields at the outskirts of towns and cities, feeding power directly into the municipal electricity grid.

A 2MW municipal solar power plant requires about 10 acres of land to serve a city of 1,000 homes - thatís acreage generally easily available at the outskirts of any city of such size in even the most developed countries. Similar for a 10MW plant for a city with 5,000 homes: This would require five such lots.

Solar panels are mounted onto rails above the ground in solar power plants so that grass and flowers can continue to grow in between and below the panels, protecting the local ecosystem. Care is taken that rainwater can flow in between adjoining panels to nourish the flowers and organisms below.
...

Ground-mounted solar power plants are installed in industrially streamlined ways, with specialized tractors deploying standardized substructure components according to standard system block designs to achieve optimal cost efficiency.

While rooftops are surely a good application too for solar panels, it is a business thatís difficult to scale rapidly in a truly meaningful way. Crawling onto rooftops and mounting solar panels in compliance with building codes is fundamentally always a somewhat more expensive proposition.
-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 09:38 AM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
TromboneAl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,198
How much of the cost of a PV system is the electronics to convert the DC from the panels into AC? I wonder if there would be significant savings if you skipped that, and just had the electronics that took the DC and handled the car charging with that.
__________________
Al
TromboneAl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 09:58 AM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,281
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
How much of the cost of a PV system is the electronics to convert the DC from the panels into AC? I wonder if there would be significant savings if you skipped that, and just had the electronics that took the DC and handled the car charging with that.
Theoretically, you could gain some eff% there, by eliminating the loses in the conversions, and some capital savings w/o the inverter, but...

practically, anytime you had your car away from home when the sun was shining you would be losing out. W/O that inverter, the energy would have no place to go. The grid/inverter makes a very cheap storage system.

Plus, the car charge system would need a separate DC input. The electronics to handle the range of DC voltage from solar as the sun varies in strength would be about the same complexity/cost as the inverter.

So while it makes sense on one level, the overall simplicity/flexibility of getting everything to the 120V AC 'baseline', just seems to trump any other gains.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 12:07 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SecondCor521's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boise
Posts: 2,402
Quote:
Originally Posted by DallasGuy View Post
I haven't priced out home solar systems at all. I was just curious, at what point will home solar systems be mass produced and marketed at an affordable price?...and there would be companies available to install them for the average consumer? (say, $10,000 or less for a system that would create enough electricity to run the average house and cover most of their electricity usage, assuming an area of the country that is fairly sunny) Are systems like this available now? At what cost?
I looked into a home system about a year or so ago and found that it really didn't make sense economically for me to do one. I didn't run a sensitivity analysis, but IIRC the key reasons it didn't work for me were:

* Cheap electricity. I think I pay around 5 cents per KWH here in Idaho, and that's before the $21 in credits I get for letting the local power company slap a choke on my AC unit in the summer.
* Not enough sun. Which corresponds to not enough power generated.
* Too high usage. I'm fairly careful with my energy usage, and even with being careful I still use enough electricity to require about $15K - $20K in panels.
* Crummy tax breaks on the state level. I think the situation is better in CA and HI, and maybe elsewhere as well.

Also, I wasn't willing to scrounge for panels the way Nords was. I poked around on the Internet and found some reasonably cheap panels, but I priced things out based on buying new panels from the manufacturer.

2Cor521
__________________
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
SecondCor521 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2008, 06:47 PM   #18
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,617
Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
How much of the cost of a PV system is the electronics to convert the DC from the panels into AC? I wonder if there would be significant savings if you skipped that, and just had the electronics that took the DC and handled the car charging with that.
Not much. We paid $2500 (retail!) for a 3 KW inverter in 2005. A homeowner buying a complete 3 KW system from an installer would probably pay a total bill of about $30K.

My biggest regret today is not buying an even bigger inverter-- at least 5 KW. I think the latest inverters are probably even cheaper, have more capacity, and are more reliable today. Not Moore's law but not far off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
I looked into a home system about a year or so ago and found that it really didn't make sense economically for me to do one. I didn't run a sensitivity analysis, but IIRC the key reasons it didn't work for me were:
* Cheap electricity. I think I pay around 5 cents per KWH here in Idaho, and that's before the $21 in credits I get for letting the local power company slap a choke on my AC unit in the summer.
* Not enough sun. Which corresponds to not enough power generated.
* Too high usage. I'm fairly careful with my energy usage, and even with being careful I still use enough electricity to require about $15K - $20K in panels.
* Crummy tax breaks on the state level. I think the situation is better in CA and HI, and maybe elsewhere as well.
Yup. No one's willing to pay $10K/KW for a payback that's a minimum of two decades away, and most paybacks are about 25 years. No homebuyer will pay for a PV system, either, so sellers don't get any benefit if they move at the national median of once every seven years.

It's not impossible. With our scrounging, DIY, 20.5 cents/KWHr rates, and tax credits we'll manage to get our money back by 2010 and to pull ahead by 2020 (15 years)-- and that's even if rates don't go up.

Federal/state subsidies ease the pain a little, and most people fail to pay attention to the inflation cost of utilities. I don't think an installer can sell a system on its payback without subsidies, and it's only in times of rapidly rising oil prices that they can get away with scary inflation stories.

A couple years ago I participated in a focus group of 20 homeowners with grid-tied systems, and 19 of them were doing it for the green lifestyle (two of them taught courses on the subject). I was the only one motivated by a different kind of green.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
Also, I wasn't willing to scrounge for panels the way Nords was. I poked around on the Internet and found some reasonably cheap panels, but I priced things out based on buying new panels from the manufacturer.
A local Craigslist seller just unloaded 10,000 watts (50 panels) at $4/watt. I was going nuts-- I had no need for even 1000 watts, let alone 10,000, but it was just too good a "fell-off-the-truck" deal to pass up. Luckily someone finally put me out of my misery by buying them.
__________________

__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
electric fireplaces runnerr Other topics 10 11-20-2007 09:51 PM
Electric Choice in MD jazz4cash FIRE and Money 10 09-09-2007 07:28 PM
Electric Generators saluki9 Other topics 39 08-30-2007 03:29 PM
New Electric Car Alex Other topics 16 07-21-2006 06:39 PM
June Electric Bill IHateCNBC FIRE and Money 57 07-21-2006 05:07 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:28 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.