Charging Your Electric Vehicle with Solar Energy

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Here’s a good article that analyzes the eco-friendliness of electric transportation that makes a point that I try to emphasize in my discussions on the subject: the EV “selection effect.” The vast majority of EV buyers at this point make their decision based on their interest in protecting and preserving the environment, and are extremely likely to charge their cars with solar energy, i.e., “green people buy green cars and green electricity.”

The article (and those it links to) makes the usual error, however, of discussing the average preponderance of coal in the grid-mix, as if this has bearing on the validity of EVs from an ecologic standpoint. The real question, of course, is: Where does the energy come from when you put an incremental load on the grid in most portions of the U.S. in the middle of the night? And the answer, because it’s the least expensive form of baseload, is coal.

But again, let’s not lose sight of the selection effect. As the gentleman interviewed says, “At least 56 percent of all EV owners in California, who make up 35 percent of EV owners in the U.S., either have or are installing solar panels in their homes, according to the Center for Sustainable Energy, California.”

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

  • jgarbuz

    The simple fact is, that electric engines are at least 3 times more efficent in energy use than even the most efficient internal combusion engines (ICE). ICE engines waste 80% of that gasoline energy in the form of heat. That is why regular autos require radiators with water and air cooling to keep the engine from melting.

    And because EV’s use so much LESS energy in general, conversion of the fleet to EV’s would mean a radical drop in all energy use regardless of its source. And that is a good thing for the planet, but a very, very bad thing for energy-providers, be they based on fossil fuels or whichever. What we need is to live better using less energy, normally called “conservation.”

    And energy providers are quite aware of this and hence fighting “alternative” energy tooth and nail, in the media, politically, and wherever they can. THey have seen the handwriting on the wall, but will fight on as the tobacco industry has regardless of the health consequences to the planet.