Electric vehicles speed up solar return on investment

Electric vehicles (EVs) continue to evolve and claim a larger share of the automotive market. Luckily, their rise is in tandem with the increased availability and decreased cost of solar energy generation systems. 

Homeowners and businesses that put solar panels to work for their electric needs see an even bigger return on their solar investment when they drive and charge electric vehicles off their system. 

mtvSolar’s Director of Technology & Design Lydian Miles-Monaghan has been tracking the payback from her EV since October 2022, along with the savings from her property’s solar generation system since 2017.

“I have driven about 7,000 miles in my EV since I got it in October 2022. I’ve used 1,821 kWh for charging, which if I had to pay for it would be $218 or so. But my car has been 100% solar charged and cost me nothing,” she reports.

Seen here, the energy of the sun is directly fueling her car:

The gas version of her Kona gets roughly 32 miles per gallon. At the average cost of $3.30 per gallon, she figures she would have burnt 219 gallons of gas, at a cost of $722.

Getting an EV and charging it on a regular electric grid charger would reduce travel costs to less than a third of the gasoline average, with the added savings of having no oil changes.  In her case, the charging happens off solar-generated electricity, so the power costs nothing extra. 

“The energy of the sun is directly fueling my car,” she notes. “My EV will break-even on the ‘electric premium’ vs regular Kona at around 6 years, then it’s nearly free driving with 4 years of battery warranty left. But EV batteries often go over 200k miles, which is a lot of nearly free miles.”

As for the solar energy system, it has mostly paid for itself already before the EV. Here’s how she breaks it down:

Since 2017:

Not paid utility: $17,100

MD SRECs: $7,302

Tax credits: $11,808

=$36,210 saved in 6 years

Going forward:

Avoided utility cost over next 25 years: ~$90,000

Maryland SRECs ($40 est) : ~$30,000

All assuming MD utility rates do not increase above 0.12c per kWh !

See how the panels and vehicle charging work together in her video: https://youtu.be/KxOoXfgEqrM

With more Federal incentives available to help pay for solar energy upgrades to homes, farms and small businesses, a solar investment now will pay for itself in a shorter time period. The benefits of owning and using renewable energy – the reduction in CO2 emissions and a reliable electric source – keep pace with the financial return and stretch out far beyond the last dollar recouped.  Add an EV to the mix, and ROI drops even further.

Solar panels are in demand, but who will install them?

mtvSolar crews installing panels

Renewable energy jobs have a bright future but those in the industry are warning that new recruitment and training strategies are needed to fill those jobs now and into the next decade.

PV Magazine shared some startling projections about the solar energy sector — the top one being that the solar workforce will need to double in number over the next 10 years to meet demand:

“To reach the federal goal of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, the solar workforce will need to more than double from 255,000 to over 538,000, said the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).”

Apprenticeships, technical school training and certificate programs are the top channels to prepare new solar energy technicians and installers. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council is guiding companies in the solar industry and helping colleges and trade schools develop good training programs to fill the positions open now, and cultivate the workers who will fill them in the future.

mtvSolar Master Electrician Ryan Slack talks to young students about solar jobs

Technology in the industry is always changing, so even seasoned solar energy professionals like our consultants, installers and technicians have to keep on top of new techniques and equipment. Our employees are well-trained and have opportunities to grow in the company, and it shows. Our team members consistently earn praise from business and residential customers for their professional standards, pride in their work and great communication.

Solar energy is on the rise, and there are many opportunities right now in the industry for photovoltaic (PV) installers, repair technicians and electricians. Those of us in the industry are always looking for new ways to introduce good workers to interesting and impactful work of putting solar panels to work for our customers.

Learn more about Careers with mtvSolar here: Careers – Mountain View Solar (mtvsolar.com)