Why you should pair an electric vehicle with solar

By Heaven Campbell on April 9, 2018
Solar co-op participant with his solar array and EV.

Solar is flourishing in Florida. New residential solar permits rose 110% in 2017, with no sign of slowing down. And recently, Florida was named fifth in the nation for the growth of solar jobs. It should come as no surprise then that the electric vehicle (EV) market is growing as well.

A recent study found that about half of EV and solar PV customers have both. Why is this bundled approach increasingly common? The answer is in the savings. By charging an EV with their own homegrown energy from solar, customers’ savings soar. Using electricity to power your car, without solar, is equivalent to paying $0.99/gallon for gas. With solar on your roof, the cost drops to $0.27/gallon and lower. An important component of solar system savings is rooted in the 30% federal tax credit. Likewise, a tax credit (up to $7,500) exists for qualifying EVs. Furthermore, a consistent increase in charging stations—a projected 50% annually—is decreasing the range anxiety that some fear in choosing an EV.

Pairing solar with electric vehicles is a growing trend in our own solar co-ops across the state. A St. Johns County co-op family choose to strike while the iron is hot and purchase an qualifying plug-in EV while installing solar through the co-op.

Aaron Swicker went solar with the North Pinellas co-op. He also has a Chevy Volt. He sized his system to charge the vehicle’s 14 kwh battery. “In an emergency I can offload power from the Volts high voltage battery to power small items in my house to assist the battery storage system in functioning in a off grid mode,” Swicker said. “It’s exciting stuff!”

“I believe going EV and solar is not only the right moral choice but also the right financial choice,” Swicker said. “Solar prices continue to drop and the co-op pricing we got along with government incentives on EVs make the same dream I am building open to many people (including myself). I think it’s the right time to do it.”

Carol Marks, a co-op participant in St. Pete bought a used Nissan Leaf with her husband that has gone up in value since purchase. They waited a year for a co-op to come to them and saved $7,000 through the co-op. They are equally excited about their clean footprint and economic savings.