Solar powers electric car and retirement plans

By Curt Macysyn on June 12, 2018
Doug Stansfield and family.

Sussex County solar homeowner and Solar United Neighbors of New Jersey advisory board member Doug Stansfield has big plans for his solar system.

“Having solar on my roof, means I can charge my electric car from the sun and then drive on ‘sunshine miles’ instead of gas miles,” Stansfield said. “The other reason I went to solar was because in 10 to 15 years I would like to retire. I took out a solar loan to for 10 years to pay for the solar panels and installation, so I’m on track to have a minimal electric bill upon retirement.”

Stansfield was raised in northern New Jersey. He migrated to Sussex County after college where he lives with his family, close to the ski slopes. Stansfield started the New Jersey Electric Auto Association in 2008 and still likes to drive his own electric vehicle (EV). His family installed a solar system in September 2017, and it’s a decision that keeps paying dividends.

As Stansfield researched solar technology and the process of going solar, his family decision to install an array became evident. “My solar panels will deteriorate at only 0.1% per year. That means in 10 years, I will have barely lost 1% of my output capacity. When I decide to retire, I will have 99% of my panels’ capacity. You can’t beat that.”

The Stansfields’ decision to go solar was largely influenced not by current conditions, but rather with an eye toward the future. “In ten years, my wife and I will likely be empty nesters, and when that happens my electrical consumption will decrease,” Stansfield said. “That means about the time I want to retire, most of my electricity will be generated by my solar system. That’s a great feeling. And who knows what the local utility will be charging per kWh then?”

Stansfield serves as Vice President of BDE Computer Services in Clifton, where his enthusiasm for renewable energy also serves him well. He sits on the Sustainability Board of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce and heads up the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of that group. His company sells and installs low voltage eco system smart lights. That low voltage ecosystem helps save money in many commercial businesses.

In his spare time, Stansfield loves to garden and spend time with his kids. He also remains a solar and electric vehicle enthusiast. As for the future, Stansfield has defined views of what needs to happen to grow the floundering EV movement in New Jersey.

“I believe we have to diversify our transportation fuel,” Stansfield said. “Currently the monopoly transportation fuel is gasoline. In order to keep our air clean, and our nation secure, we should lessen our need for oil and gas in any way we can. Installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) make so much sense, it’s not funny.”